Provided by the We're Coming Back campaign
Emigrants gather to raise worldwide #toastforavote and urge Govt. to deliver long-promised voting rights
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has told a young emigrant organisation that an overdue decision on an emigrant vote in Presidential elections will not be delivered by this Government. Speaking at the Irish embassy in Brussels, the Taoiseach told the We're Coming Back campaign that, despite all promises of a Christmas announcement, “No, this will not happen before Christmas. There are a number of issues that need to be decided - I think this is a topic for the next general election and the next Government.”
Cabinet was scheduled to discuss the issue and announce before Christmas whether it would go to a referendum in 2015.This decision has been overdue for over a year, after the Constitutional Convention voted strongly in favour (78%) of the change in September 2013. Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan had assured Irish citizens overseas several times that the Government intended to act, and stated that he "fully supports" holding the proposed referendum.
In response to the news that An Taoiseach was disowning the issue, Irish people worldwide gathered on social media to urge Government to deliver on past promises, posting their #toastforavote photos on Twitter and Facebook. Pictures rolled in from Sydney, New York and London, as well as Japan, Brussels, Brazil and elsewhere. From Cairo to Castlebar, expats and resident citizens alike raised a glass to voting rights for the Irish abroad. In Ireland, several politicians joined in the call, including Senators inside Leinster House.
Campaign co-founders David Burns & Conor O'Neill said: "It's heartening to see so many people come together to support voting rights for our citizens abroad. Research has shown that 79% of Irish residents and 85% of Irish emigrants back an overseas vote in Presidential elections - Government should do right by those citizens and listen. Enda Kenny voted for this change while in opposition, told us he's "very much in favour" of an emigrant vote, but has proceeded to kick the issue to touch. People want change from this Government, not further deferral."