Northern Ireland news

All north's citizens could vote for next Irish president

Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile. Picture by Seamus Loughran

UP to 1.8 million people north of the border will be eligible to choose the next Irish head of state if a forthcoming referendum in the Republic endorses a bid to extend voting rights for presidential elections.

Legislation paving the way for a referendum on extending voting rights in presidential elections to Irish citizens living abroad was published earlier this week.

A referendum on the 39th Amendment of the Irish constitution could potentially take place later this year.

If the proposal is passed it would allow Irish people living outside the Republic to vote in the next presidential election, which is scheduled to take place in 2025.

According to Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile, the move would see 3.6 million people overseas given voting rights and, under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, around 1.8 million people in Northern Ireland, whether they hold an Irish passport or not.

"The publication of the legislation is the first tangible step to extending voting rights into the north and across the diaspora," he said.

"What we need now is a broad coming together of all those who support this change and a resolute victory in the referendum."

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