Our emigrants should not be penalised further by the State by refusing them their rights to be part of the democratic process

-   James Bannon TD

About 50,000 Irish live abroad and are in constant fear of deportation. What is needed is immigrant reform for illegal immigrants to obtain active citizenship said Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath James Bannon. I am calling on our Irish Ambassador to Washington to get involved with all levels of the U.S. political and business communities to keep this issue high on the political agenda until a workable solution for all is found. We have a duty of care to our Irish abroad he said.

Irish citizens living abroad should have full voting rights rather than no voting rights. It is now a practice worldwide according to a recent study 120 plus countries including 36 countries in Europe have put in place mechanisms to allow for emigrant to vote.

Here in Ireland the only non-residents allowed to vote in Dáil Elections are the army and diplomatic personnel. It is time the Government caught up with the rights of our emigrants and those forced to leave the country through no fault of their own but rather victims of the economic downturn. I feel they are entitled to be treated as citizens of this country will all the rights that citizenship implies. Our emigrants should not be penalised further by the State by refusing them their rights to be part of the democratic process to exercise their franchise.

“Indeed it’s hard enough to immigrate without being disenfranchised” he said. On a recent visit to the U.S. Capitol Hill I took up the case of the undocumented Irish with many Senators and Congressmen I met who promised me reform this year.

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