By Noreen Bowden | September 23, 2015
The OECD is the latest international body to weigh in on Ireland’s disenfranchisement of its expats. In their latest economic survey, the organisation says that Ireland is out of step with the rest of Europe, and both citizens and the nation are missing out:
One aspect with significant room for improvement concerns emigrant’s political representation and right to vote in Irish elections. Ireland is one of the few countries in Europe not to offer some form of suffrage to its citizens who live abroad (Honohan, 2011). The vast majority of countries have electoral systems allowing emigrants to participate in some ways in elections. Voting can allow states to build and retain highly productive connections with diaspora groups (Collier and Vathi, 2007). Political participation is positively associated with well-being (Frey et al., 2008 and Blais and Gelineau, 2007). Thus, civil and political engagement is one of the building blocks of the OECD’s Better Life index. Allowing for the participating of Irish emigrants in domestic electoral process would reinforce their attachment to Ireland, would bolster the linkages that Ireland has been successfully building over the years and would make a positive contribution to emigrant’s well-being.