Good Friday Committee to discuss extending voting rights to Northern Ireland

The Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement will meet tomorrow, Thursday 18 May 2017 at 2.45pm in Committee Room 2, Leinster House.

17 May 2017

Following the outcome of the Convention on the Constitution, the Government announced on 07 March 2017 that a referendum would be held to amend Article 12 of the constitution to allow Irish citizens resident outside the State, including in Northern Ireland, to vote in Irish presidential elections. Extending the franchise in presidential elections to Irish citizens resident outside the State gives rise to a range of legal, policy and practical issues. These matters will form the basis of tomorrow’s Committee meeting.

Mr. Mark Bassett, BL, and Professor Colin Harvey (Queen’s University Belfast) will address the Committee.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Committee Chairperson, Kathleen Funchion TD said, “The issue of granting voting rights to Irish citizens resident outside the State is one that has been discussed for many years. Tomorrow, the Joint Committee will analyse some of the legal and constitutional aspects of extending the right to vote to Irish citizens resident outside the state, with a specific focus on the implications for those in the North. Should the franchise be extended to the North, specific  consideration  must  be  given  to the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, in particular the right of citizens of the North to be  British  or  Irish  or  both. Our witnesses will engage with us on the legal and practical implications of extending the franchise and we look forward to a productive meeting.”

Committee proceedings can be viewed live here.

Committee proceedings can also be viewed on the move, through the Houses of the Oireachtas Smartphone App, available for Apple and Android devices.

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Committee Membership:

Chairperson: Kathleen Funchion (SF)

Deputies:

Declan Breathnach (FF)
Fergus O’Dowd (FG)
Tony McLoughlin (FG)
Maureen O'Sullivan (IND)
Sean Sherlock (LAB)
Brendan Smith (FF)

Senators:

Frances Black (IND)
Frank Feighan (FG)
Mark Daly (FF)
Denis Landy (LAB)
Gerard Craughwell (IND)
Niall Ó Donnghaile (SF)