Time to give emigrants the vote, encourage Irish to leave - and to come back
Irish Diaspora deserve their say in government or at least to see All Ireland Final for free
I was born in Ireland, grew up in Ireland, love Ireland, and left Ireland. In this sequence, I am hardly alone.
“Most countries send out oil or iron, steel or gold, or some other crop,” President John F. Kennedy said when he visited his ancestral homeland in June 1963, “but Ireland has had only one export and that is its people.”
So it has been since the seventeenth century, and the rate today is 1,000 a week, amounting in 2012 to 50,000 plus emigrants from an island of 6.3 million - 4.58 in the Republic, 1.8 in Northern Ireland.
Like most who leave, I was forced - forced to leave to make a living. Unlike the great majority who left in the past, many of those who emigrate these days are entrepreneurs who give back to Ireland, bringing new businesses and investments throughout the country. I am among these.
I live today in Atlanta, Georgia, where I am chairman of the global recruitment firm I founded. But I invest in Ireland, I have set up businesses in Ireland, I pay Irish taxes, and I employ local people. Some of my countrymen know me as an investor panelist on RTE’s Dragon’s Den. I am by birth, by law, and by desire an Irish citizen. Yet I do not have a vote, not in America or Ireland.
As of 1998, Article 2 of the Irish constitution declares it “the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish Nation.” In addition, it is “also the entitlement of all persons otherwise qualified in accordance with law to be citizens of Ireland.” Article 2 goes on to proclaim the nation’s “special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage.”
Irish law essentially allows anyone with an Irish-born citizen grandparent to claim Irish citizenship. Great-grandchildren as well as descendants of Irish emigrants may also claim citizenship, provided the parent through whom they trace descent was registered in the Foreign Births Register before the descendant was born. Although the Irish diaspora is currently estimated at some 70 million persons, the number of those legally eligible to claim citizenship stands at about 3.1 million, of which at least 800,000 and possibly somewhat more than a million are emigrants Irish-born.
No right of citizenship is more fundamental than the right to vote. Yet these 3 million-plus Irish citizens are denied that right. This puts Ireland in a shrinking minority among nations, some 115 of which (according to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance) currently give the vote to some or all of their external citizens. And more countries, including Venezuela, Kenya, India, Egypt, Libya, and Lebanon, are moving toward this position as well.
Many of those who oppose Irish emigrant voting rights argue that emigrants neither deserve nor need the vote because they are not affected by decisions made in Ireland. On the contrary, they are profoundly affected in several ways.
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Over 50% of the marriages between one man and one woman end in divorce. Maybe they and Seanmor would be better off minding their own marriages ratherThe New York Times questions Ireland’s highly-praised economic recovery
Everyone disregard my post that is unfinished. I hit enter by mistake, sorry.Spanish judge slams Ryanair’s sexist air hostess calendar
Chuck I didn't realize that you had a great sense of humor, that was to funny. I actually had to watch it two or three times before I came to my decisThe New York Times questions Ireland’s highly-praised economic recovery
Maybe the Times should question Obama's recovery.