Young Irish emigrant group “We’re Coming Back” is organizing a “Toast to Vote” between December 20 and 22 to have all Irish citizens around the world to raise a glass to emigrants voting. "We’re Coming Back," which was launched in October of this year, is campaigning to gain the vote for the 2018 presidential election.
Campaign member David Burns, who now lives in Paris after the Dublin restaurant he worked at closed, told The Journal, “The response so far has been fantastic. We’ve spent the past month inundated with emails from people all over the world who want to get involved.” He added, “Irish emigrants are still Irish citizens and they deserve some political inclusion.”
"We’re Coming Back," is a sister group of "We’re Not Leaving," a youth movement that is trying to change Ireland so young people are not forced to emigrate. In addition to an emigrant vote for the 2018 presidential election, We’re Coming Back’s goals include representation within the Seanad (Irish Senate) and a vote in European elections.
We’re Coming Back argues that the Irish government has not taken steps to reverse the high rate of emigration, especially among young citizens. The Central Statistics Office states that one person leaves Ireland every six minutes. In its last budget the government decreased the Under 26 social protection payment from $197 to $137.
The result is that young citizens have difficulty living on the meager payment and trying to save enough to emigrate. We’re Coming Back reasons that since the property rights were abolished, Irish citizenship has become the only considered criteria for the vote.
The tide seems to moving in their favor. Two months ago the Constitutional Convention voted in favor of the overseas vote. Of the 100 members, 78 voted in favor. Over 120 countries including Mexico, Mali, and Peru recognize the voting rights of their citizens abroad and We’re Coming Back hopes to boost that number to 121.
We’re Coming Back has organized a facebook event titled “The Quiet One 2013,” which already has 600 attendees as of December 19. We’re Coming Back hopes more will join over the weekend. As they raise a glass a “quiet one,” participants are encouraged to upload photos to the page, tweet them to @WCBIreland or email at WCBIreland@gmail.com.