Two candidates running in the upcoming Seanad election have launched their “Emigrant Manifesto”, outlining their campaign for voting rights and other issues for Irish citizens abroad. Roscommon native Barry Johnston, who works as a human rights advocate in London, had announced in December that he was running for the NUI panel in the upcoming Seanad elections. Dubliner Ed Davitt, who works for a marine environmental NGO in Brussels, has just announced he is running for a Seanad seat on the Trinity College panel.
Their manifesto was based on a survey of emigrants and developed in consultation with organisations such as The Crosscare Migrant Project; Irish Business Network Berlin; Irish Australia Chamber of Commerce; The London Irish Centre; Votingrights.ie; and the Votes for Irish Citizens Abroad Campaign.
The document calls for an electoral commission to develop an absentee ballot process, a referendum on the presidential vote in time for the next presidential elections, a commission to explore the right of all citizens to vote with the creation of a 5-seat-overseas constituency, and a reformed Seanad that would allow a voice for Irish citizens abroad.
They candidates are also calling for an approach to the diaspora that incorporates the whole of government, an Irish emigrant register, expansion of the Emigrant Support Programme, and the creation of Emigrant Bonds. It advocates a return policy that would incorporate a comprehensive information service, increased return preparation, and enhanced education and housing options to meed additional demands from returnees.
Visit their campaign website at emigrantmanifesto.irish.