Reciprocal voting rights should be extended to EU citizens in Ireland – Richmond

-   Senator Neale Richmond

Fine Gael Senator and spokesman on EU Affairs, Neale Richmond, has raised the possibility of Ireland extending voting rights for the Dáil to the citizens of any other EU Member State who has done the same for Irish citizens.

Speaking on the issue, Senator Richmond said: “The extension of voting rights to other EU Member States was introduced in the same legislation which granted voting rights to British citizens. The Bill was introduced with the goal to strengthen the bond between EU Member States.

“This privilege is not currently extended to EU nationals in Ireland and no other EU Member State has introduced such a system. There is no reason why Ireland could not become a leader in the EU on this issue and set an example for other Member States.

“I truly believe this could be a massively positive step towards a greater, practical, demonstration of solidarity between European countries and citizens. Strategically, this could also further strengthen the new EU alliances the Government is working to develop in the post-Brexit era.

“While I am mindful of course that in some countries it could, regrettably, play on nationalist fears, I am sure that there would hopefully be at least one other among the 26 open to this discussion.

“Given that EU citizens already vote in our Local and European elections, that they live here legally, pay tax and contribute greatly to our society, why not give European citizens the same electoral rights as Irish and British citizens; the rights to influence the electoral process the results of which will greatly impact upon their lives?

“Reciprocal voting rights would also afford Irish nationals living in other EU Member States the opportunity to vote in the jurisdiction where they live, work and pay tax.”

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