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A bill is currently being drafted by the Irish Government to amend the constitution to enable Irish citizens living north of the border and overseas to vote in Irish Presidential elections.

The bill will be voted on in a referendum and if passed it would see voting rights extended to Irish citizens around the world.

Newry and Armagh MLA Conor Murphy has welcomed the decision to hold the long-awaited referendum.

Newry voters could have a chance to vote on the successor to President Higgins if proposed amendment to Irish Constitution is passed. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Newry voters could have a chance to vote on the successor to President Higgins if proposed amendment to Irish Constitution is passed. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

The MLA explained “The extension of voting rights to all Irish citizens in presidential elections would be a natural outworking of the Good Friday agreement, which enshrines the right of the people of the North to Irish citizenship”

“Sinn Féin has actively campaigned for many years for a referendum to be held to extend voting rights in presidential elections to Irish citizens in the North, and separately to include the Irish diaspora abroad.

We successfully lobbied the Irish Government to include this important matter for consideration as part of the Constitutional Convention back in 2013, and were pleased that over 70% of members voted in favour of recommending to the Government the holding of a referendum to extend such rights”.

Welcoming the move he said “Sinn Féin will continue to work with all other parties across the island, the diaspora organisations abroad and Irish civil society to campaign and win these hugely important rights in the weeks and months ahead.”

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