Votingrights.ie is a global community of Irish citizens who are seeking full citizenship as citizens of the Republic. We are the Global Irish. One million of us were born in Ireland, educated in Ireland and yet had to leave Ireland to find work and a future for ourselves and our families. We are your brothers and sisters and cousins. We’re from Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and the Midlands. Many of us grew up belonging to GAA clubs in every town and village in Ireland and now we belong to GAA clubs in Britain, Canada, Australia, the United States, Hong Kong and across the world. Many of us were active in our local communities at home, and we still follow the latest news – through online newspapers, Twitter, and Irish networks abroad. We are no less Irish by being abroad. We Skype home regularly to talk to our families. Many of us want to come home – but right now we are emigrants.
We are also citizens who have been denied our Constitutional rights to participate in the democratic process of the Republic.
The government has just held an election, with almost all of us living in New York City, Melbourne, Singapore or London or working in Africa or Latin America disenfranchised. Ireland has no modern absentee ballot process and now has the sorry distinction of being dead last in the E.U. when it comes to a modern electoral system.
Surely, we do better. We are proud to be Irish and we affirm our rights as citizens.
In 2016, Ireland commemorates the Easter Rising and the founding of the Republic. Two of the signers of the Proclamation – Thomas J. Clarke and James Connolly were Irish emigrants and many of the men and women who fought in the Rising were returned emigrants from London, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. Indeed, the Rising would never have taken place without the support of Ireland’s “exiled children in America.”
The Easter Proclamation signed by seven brave patriots called on the “allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman” and we affirm, where every we are around the world, our patriotic allegiance to the Republic.
We also demand our “equal rights and equal opportunities” as Irish citizens and desire to be full participants in the growth of a 21st-century Irish Republic.
The men and women who fought in the Rising fought to create a Republic “elected by the suffrages of all her men and women” and made a commitment to cherish “all the children of the nation equally.
We are a non-political democratic, citizen-based initiative. We take the view that gaining the right to vote as a citizen goes to the core of the very meaning of the Republic; encouraging Ireland to fulfill the democratic aspirations so eloquently laid out in the Proclamation that called for a Republic “elected by the suffrages of all her men and women.” This is about citizenship – not politics.
Ireland can do better. The time has come to fulfill the promise of 1916 and give Irish citizens living abroad their birthright as citizens – the right to vote and be full participants in the democratic life of the Irish nation.