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    Ean quoted in Irish Echo story on US-Ireland Forum

    Friday, November 16th, 2007

    Ean has received a mention in the Irish Echo’s article on the US-Ireland Forum.

    The article, by Stephen McKinley, describes the events of the conference.

    The relevant quote:

    “It’s an exciting time to be involved with Diaspora issues,” said Noreen Bowden, a first-generation Irish New Yorkers who lives in Dublin, and is director of the Emigrant Advice Network. Summing up her feelings about the forum’s success, she welcomed the news that the forum would be organized again next year.

    “One thing that cropped up a few times was the idea of political participation; giving emigrants some voice in the political process is something that Ireland should probably revisit now,” Bowden said. “Almost every other developed nation in the world allows its emigrants to vote, even if living permanently in another country.”

    See the entire article from the Irish Echo.

    What if emigrants had been allowed to vote?

    Thursday, October 25th, 2007

    There’s an interesting opinion piece in the Irish Examiner about emigrant voting rights, contrasting the situation with the Polish vote in Ireland with the fact that Irish emigrants have never been given the vote.

    The writer queries the potential impact of an emigrant vote:

    Irish emigrants have never been allowed to vote in Irish elections, which raises the intriguing question: if they had had the vote at a time when emigration was so pervasive, could they have transformed the politics of Ireland? Would the leaders of the Irish political parties have found themselves addressing election meetings in Kilburn, Coventry, Birmingham, Boston and New York, promising that a vote for them was a vote to end the emigrants’ exile?

    Read the entire article.

    Irish Times publishes letter on voting rights

    Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

    The Irish Times has published a letter today from Ean regarding emigrant voting rights. The letter was written in light of media coverage of Polish residents of Ireland exercising their right to vote in the Polish elections. It reads:

    Emigrants’ voting rights

    Madam – Your coverage of Polish citizens living in Ireland lining up to vote in their country’s election is a powerful reminder of the importance that migrants place on this link with their native country.

    It also highlights the fact that Ireland is one of a small and shrinking number of developed nations that do not give overseas citizens anyvoice in the political process.

    Nearly 100 countries have overcome the logistical and political hurdles involved in granting emigrants voting rights. Ireland’s stance on the issue is out of step with our technological and globalised world. – Yours, etc,

    Ean – Emigrant Advice Network,
    Carmichael House,
    North Brunswick Street,
    Dublin 7.

    NY journalist to be emigrants’ voice in Seanad?

    Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

    A journalist at New York’s Irish Echo newspaper has been having talks with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael regarding the possibility of becoming the first emigrant rights representative in the Seanad, reports Seán O’Driscoll in today’s Irish Times.

    Ray O’Hanlon, who is orginally from Dublin, says that his aim has been to secure the parties’ support for an agreed emigrant candidate; he will know in July whether he has been successful. The report says that O’Hanlon would like to see a panel for two or three emigrant representatives but does not want to rush the parties into sudden change.

    The report also says that US immigration rights lobbyists have been raising the issue of voting rights for emigrants, saying,

    Many want to use their vote to rewared Irish politicians who back US immigration reform that would legalise more than 12 million undocumented immigrants.

    Much of the resistance to emigrant votes has come from politicians who fear protest votes, especially those going to Sinn Féin.

    O’Hanlon says the internet and globalisation have enhanched the relationship between Ireland and its citizens abroad, and allows for emigrants to keep up with Irish politics. He says,

    There is no longer this sense of exile and distance. The state may end at the Cliffs of Moher, but the economy doesn’t. People are more aware and more than ever before. Now there has to be a complementary political voice to match it. 

     See the entire article at the Irish Echo. (subscription required)

    See Éan’s factsheet on global external voting rights.

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