Dáil Éireann - Volume 608 - 25 October, 2005
Written Answers. - Register of Electors.
Mr. Cuffe Mr. Cuffe
645. Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his plans to extend the voting franchise for election to Dáil Éireann to citizens living abroad for a period of up to five years. [30570/05]
Mr. Roche Mr. Roche
Mr. Roche:The compilation of a register of electors is a matter for the appropriate registration authority in accordance with electoral law. To be able to vote at elections and referenda in this jurisdiction, a person’s name must be entered in the register of electors for a constituency in the State in which the person ordinarily resides. Subject to this primary requirement, the person’s citizenship then determines the polls at which he or she is entitled to vote.  Irish citizens who are registered to vote may vote at all polls. British citizens may vote at Dáil, European and local elections; EU citizens, other than Irish and British citizens, may vote at European and local elections; and non-EU citizens may vote at local elections only.
Postal voting is provided for in respect of certain categories of person as specified in electoral law. The Electoral Act 1992 provides for postal voting for members of the Garda, whole-time members of the Defence Forces and Irish diplomats serving abroad and their spouses. Subsequent legislation enacted by the Oireachtas has extended postal voting to other categories, including electors living at home who are unable to vote because of a physical illness or disability under the Electoral (Amendment) Act 1996; electors whose occupation, service or employment makes it likely that they will be unable to vote in person at their local polling station on polling day under the Electoral Act 1997; full-time students registered at their home who are living elsewhere while attending an educational institution in the State under the Electoral Act 1997; and election staff employed at the poll outside the constituency where they reside under the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2001.
The question of voting rights for Irish citizens living abroad has been considered in detail on a number of occasions, most recently by the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution in its examination of Parliament. With regard to emigrant participation in political life, the seventh progress report of the committee, published in March 2002, concluded that the right to vote in Dáil elections should remain confined to citizens ordinarily resident in the State and that the right to vote at referenda should not be granted to emigrants. While electoral law is subject to ongoing review, there are no proposals to alter the existing arrangements along the lines referred to in the question.
Dáil Éireann 608 Written Answers. Register of Electors.