Jim Higgins MEP for Ireland North West said the fact that people who have emigrated to other European Union countries, and elsewhere around the world, cannot vote is a “disgrace”.
“It’s bad enough that people are forced to emigrate, but it is a shameful disgrace that Irish people cannot go to the embassy in whatever country they are working in, in order to have their say as to who is in power in their homeland,” said Mr Higgins.
“Not only this, but in many instances, Irish citizens do not have a vote in their newly adopted country. When I explain the situation to MEPs from other states, they are shocked and ask why the situation is allowed to continue,” added Mr Higgins.
According to the MEP the UN has a clear policy on the rights of citizens to vote. “Article 25 of General Comment No 25 states clearly 'the Covenant recognises and protects the right of every citizen to take part in the conduct of public affairs, the right to vote and to be elected'.”
When complete CSO figures on emigration are available later this year Mr Higgins said we will have a better idea as to how many Irish citizens have not been allowed to vote in the General Election.