Second emigrant to run for Seanad election

Ed Davitt in Brussels and Barry Johnston in London launch campaign for emigrant voting rights

Barry Johnston (left) and Ed Davitt (right) have both announced their intention to run as independent candidates for the Seanad from abroad.

Barry Johnston (left) and Ed Davitt (right) have both announced their intention to run as independent candidates for the Seanad from abroad.

 

A second Irish person living abroad has announced he will run as a candidate in the Seanad election this year.

Ed Davitt, a 35-year-old from Dublin who has been working for an environmental NGO in Brussels for four years, will stand as an independent candidate on the Trinity College panel.

He joins Barry Johnston, a Roscommon man working in human rights advocacy in London, who announced his candidacy for the NUI panel in December.

Both candidates are running as independents to represent Irish emigrants in the Seanad, and to campaign for voting rights for Irish citizens overseas.

Ireland has been criticised by the European Commission for “disenfranchising” its citizens abroad by not allowing them to vote. More than 120 countries worldwide have some provision to allow emigrants to cast a ballot by post or in embassies.

Mr Johnston and Mr Davitt published their “emigrant manifesto” today, outlining their campaign for voting rights for Irish citizens overseas.

The document is based on an online survey of Irish people living abroad, which received 159 responses, and consultations with Irish emigrant organisations including Crosscare Migrant Project in Dublin, the Irish Business Network in Berlin, the Irish Australia Chamber of Commerce, and the London Irish Centre, as well as the Votes for Irish Citizens Abroad Campaign and VotingRights.ie.

The “manifesto” calls for the right to vote in Dáil elections for all Irish-born citizens living abroad, in reserved constituencies specially for the Irish overseas, and for the establishment of an electoral commission to begin the implementation process within the first 100 days of the new government.

“As an Irish person living abroad, I see my friends and colleagues voting at their embassies or by post every election time, while I and my fellow Irish are disenfranchised,” Mr Davitt said.

“I am running in this election to ask for what almost developed democracy in the world already provides - the right to stay engaged with the political process in a country that we hope to return to in the future.”

Mr Johnston said denying the vote to overseas citizens was “undemocratic, out of step with other European countries, and sends a message that the Irish abroad are barred from any role in shaping the future of the country regardless of their intention to return”.

Under current electoral legislation, Irish citizens retain the right vote for 18 months after they leave the country, if they intend to return to live in Ireland within that timeframe, but they must travel back to their home constituency to do so.

Emigrants who would like a vote are being encouraged to post “voiceless selfie” photographs of themselves on social media this weekend with their hands over their mouths, to symbolise their “disenfranchisement”.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.