Northern Ireland news

Conference to discuss extending presidential vote to all Irish citizens, including those in the north

Citizenship campaigner and vice chair of Emma DeSouza

A DIGITAL conference on Irish citizenship will discuss extending the vote in presidential elections to all Irish citizens - including those in Northern Ireland.

Foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney will be among the Irish ministers to address Monday's conference, which has been organised by and the UCD Clinton Institute.

Minister for the Diaspora Colm Brophy TD and Minister for Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan TD will take part in a discussion on election reform, along with Mr Coveney.

A separate panel of experts will discuss the constitutional case for extending the vote.

Citizenship campaigner and vice chair of, Emma DeSouza, will chair another panel of delegates from the north.

A group of Irish emigrants will also discuss why they want voting rights to be extended.


Ms DeSouza said: "Brexit has unquestionably impacted identity and citizenship in Northern Ireland.

"As more and more people claim their birthright to be a part of the Irish nation it’s essential that we explore what that birthright entails.

"The current electoral system in Ireland leaves those of us in the North with no meaningful participation - embedding a hierarchical system of Irishness on the island - yes we are at present two different jurisdictions, but we are one island."

As part of the conference, a new website will be launched.

The website will showcase essays which make the case for extending voting rights in presidential elections to all Irish citizens living outside the Republic.

More essays will be launched later this year.

Writers include Professor Colin Harvey of Queen's University, Belfast.

"Those of us who are Irish have a shared experience of displacement, mobility, migration and movement," he wrote.

"And for many there was no choice."

People can register for the free conference via

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