Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny has told an Irish emigrant organization that the decision on an overseas vote in Presidential elections will not be delivered by this Government.
Ireland’s parliament was due to discuss the issue this week and a decision of whether it would be included in the 2015 referendum was expected before Christmas. On Wednesday the topic was taken from the schedule in Parliament and the Government failed to discuss the issue despite longstanding promises that they would implement the Constitutional Convention's recommendation. The Convention voted strongly in favor of the change (78%) in September 2013.
Speaking at the Irish embassy in Brussels Kenny told youth emigrant organization We're Coming Back that, despite the Government’s promises “No, this will not happen before Christmas. There are a number of issues that need to be decided - I think this is a topic for the next general election and the next Government.”
Emigrant organizations have been actively campaigning ahead of the expected decision, with We're Coming Back organizing a worldwide 'Toast For A Vote' in support.
The campaign co-founder Conor O'Neill said "It's disappointing to see our citizens abroad ignored again - Enda Kenny voted for this while in opposition, told us yesterday that he's "very much in favor" of an emigrant vote, but has still proceeded to kick the issue to touch. It's not good enough - he should do right by our citizens abroad and take action."
Similarly the recently appointed Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan had said he "very much supports" holding the proposed referendum next year.
On Friday Enda Kenny release his Christmas message to the people of Ireland. Ironically his message focused on the pains of emigration on the country at this festive time.
He said “I know many of you will be catching up with sons and daughters , brothers and sisters, through Facebook and Skype and I want you to know that we are working day and night to strengthen our country’s recovery and to create the jobs that will allow them to come home. Because for families at Christmas, FaceTime – good as it is – is no substitute for face-to-face.”
In a statement the group We’re Coming Back responded to his message saying “his refusal to really engage has left emigrants cold. In this light, Irish citizens all over the world gather to #toastforavote this Christmas weekend, urging Government to honor past promises and end their disenfranchisement.”