Irish citizens living abroad may be allowed to vote in a pilot scheme for the upcoming presidential elections, according to the Irish Minister for Children.

Frances Fitzgerald, the Minister for Children said a potential system will be based on “the ability of embassies around the world to reach out to the numbers of Irish citizens there and to see what the take up would be,” adding “You would have to examine it after it happened.”

Speaking to the Irish Echo in Australia, she said that the issue of emigrant voting is in a development phase.

The Minister said that the issue of disenfranchised Irish citizens abroad was a complex matter.

“I don’t think it’s simple. It’s very easy to have the phrase ‘votes for emigrants’ and I completely empathise with what’s behind it and the emotional and practical connection that people want to have, but I think to move to implementing something around it … we would have to tease it out.”

“It’s hard not to feel an empathy with it. It’s a sign that people are committed to the country and want to be committed and that’s really important,” Fitzgerald said.

“Obviously, we have had this campaign over long periods. What I think has been missing is a rigorous analysis of what it actually means and how you would implement it,” she added.