F.A.Q Because of their large numbers. emigrants could, if given the vote, decide Ireland's political future and would have a disproportionate influence.
This is not true. At present the electoral roll in Ireland is imbalanced due to emigration. A large number of people between the ages of 18 and 35 have lost their right to vote due to emigration; it is not to Ireland's advantage to have such a gap in its electorate. If the current Dail constituency situation was revised to take emigration into account, there would be up to six fewer TD's in the Dail. At present the system of proportional representation is unrepresentative of the electorate. This campaign is not seeking a vote for all emigrants. We want the vote for recent emigrants, i.e. those who have emigrated over the last 10,15 or 20 years to be allowed to vote in Dail, presidential and European elections as well as referenda. We do not consider the Senate as an appropriate forum for giving emigrants a voice.
At present less than 1 million people hold Irish passports world wide, including many second and third generation Irish who would not be entitled to vote.
Emigrants would abuse the system.
No other country that allows emigrant voting experiences abuses because there are clear preventative procedures and legislation in place. There is no evidence to indicate that Irish emigrants are less honest than citizens of other EU countries. New European democracies such as Poland, Ukraine and Eritrea ensured that their citizens abroad have the right to vote without any difficulty.If other countries and their emigrants can manage their voting systems well, why can't Ireland?
Emigrants don't pay tax.
The latest argument against emigrant voting. It is based on a distortion of the American War of Independence maxim: No taxation without representation' which now becomes "No representation without taxation". The payment of taxes has never been a prerequisite in a democracy for the right to vote. It isn't applicable to citizens residing in Ireland so why should it be a prerequisite for emigrants wishing to vote? In any case, although it is argued that emigrants don't contribute to the Irish exchequer, the following brief examination of the facts shows otherwise: Returned emigrants are the greatest single contributors to tourism revenue. Total tourism revenue in 1992 was 18 billion with over 6O% emigrant-related business. Over 20% of Irish bank accounts are held by people resident abroad, most of whom are Irish citizens. Emigrant remittances are not just part of Ireland's' history, many families are still as dependent on this form of income as they were 40 years ago. A large number of those who emigrated in the last 20 years were actually in full-time employment here, paying their taxes and PRSI like those of us who were not to forced to emigrate; others are living and working abroad temporarily. Our state airline would be in more serious trouble were not for their daily business of ferrying the emigrant Irish.
Emigrants would vote for 'extremists'
Irish emigrants leave behind family, relations, neighbours and friends. They care for their communities and their country. They are just as unlikely to vote for instability on this island as people at home are. Emigrants tend to bring their political allegiances with them and by extending the vote, we would ensure that they get the rights that they deserve as Irish people and citizens of our country. According to Dr Joseph E. Ryan, resident scholar of Freedom House, New York, who has studied emigrant voting patterns of other nationals states 'there is evidence to suggest that a larger proportion of emigrants vote in favour of the incumbent government when compared to the electorate as a whole".
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