An Irish Senator has criticized the government for betraying the Irish overseas and diaspora by not allowing them the right to vote in the presidential elections from abroad.

These comments Fianna Fail Senator Mark Daly were released following the Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan’s announcement that there would be no referendum on the matter in 2015. This is a matter that the Irish abroad, including groups such as We’re Coming Back, have been lobbying for since the presidential election in 2011.

Speaking to the Irish Times following a roundtable discussion on the diaspora, at Dublin Castle on Wednesday, Deenihan said a referendum on the matter this year would be “unlikely.” A decision on this topic was promised before Christmas.

On Friday Senator Daly released this statement:

“Ireland is only 1 of 4 EU countries who do not allow their emigrants a vote, Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Ireland. Globally over 120 countries allow their diaspora and emigrants a vote. This Government must stop discriminating against it emigrants.

“Once again this is another broken promise by Taoiseach [Prime Minister] Enda Kenny and his government, the right to vote is the most basic right of any citizen and the very least this government can do for the 500,000 who have emigrated over the last 5 years is allow them a vote in Presidential Elections.”

In 2013 Daily produced the first policy paper regarding the diaspora and the Irish overseas. He called for the extension of voting rights to citizens outside the state.

In November 2014 the Joint Oireachtas [Parliamentary] Committee on European Affairs recommended that Irish emigrants be granted the right to vote. This recommendation came following criticism from the European Commission that Ireland was “disenfranchising” its citizens.

Minister for the Diaspora says referendum for “disenfranchised” Irish rights is “unlikely” this year.