Pressure is growing on the Irish government to extend voting rights in Irish presidential elections to Irish citizens living in Northern Ireland and across the globe.

Newry, Mourne and Down Council is the latest local authority to add its voice to the call for northerners and the diaspora to participate in future Presidential votes.

Last month, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams criticized Enda Kenny after the taoiseach rejected a proposed referendum in 2017 on the right of Irish citizens in Northern Ireland and in the diaspora to vote for the next President. The Taoiseach said the delay in holding a referendum was due to the need for officials to determine who would be included in a new franchise as well as the cost of the venture.

Mr. Adams described the decision as “unacceptable and deeply disappointing.”

On Monday, Sinn Féin’s Niall Ó Donnghaile, a member of the Irish Senate (An Seanad) welcomed the call from Newry, Mourne and Down Council for extended voting rights

Ó Donnghaile said: "I welcome Newry, Mourne and Down Council's support for a Sinn Féin motion calling for voting rights in the presidential election to be extended to all Irish citizens across the island and throughout the Irish diaspora.

"Extending voting rights in the presidential election was recommended by the Constitutional Convention and has long been a Sinn Féin policy.

“Mid-Ulster Council, Derry City and Strabane Council and now Newry, Mourne and Down have all added their support to calls to extend this basic democratic right.

"I have also raised this important issue in the Seanad.

"It is now incumbent on the taoiseach to listen to the growing demand across the island for all Irish citizens to be able to elect their president.”

Read More: Referendum on the voting rights for Irish abroad planned for 2017


This article first appeared in the Irish Echo. For more stories, visit their website here.