Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 16 Nov 1961

Vol. 192 No. 3

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Aliens' Voting Rights: Voting Qualifications.


asked the Minister for Local Government if in view of recent controversy in the national press as to whether aliens permanently resident in this country have the right to vote in General Elections he will state what the present legal position is as regards voting in elections of residents of this country who are not Irish citizens.


asked the Minister for Local Government if he will make a statement as to the qualifications necessary for a vote in (a) parliamentary elections and (b) local elections, having regard to the fact that many British citizens of many years residence in Wicklow felt that they should have had a vote at the recent General Election.

I propose with your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, to take Questions Nos. 101 and 102 together.

A person who is a citizen of Ireland aged at least 21 years on the date on which the current register of electors comes into force is entitled to vote at a Dáil or local election in the constituency or local authority area in which he or she is registered as a Dáil or local elector by virtue of ordinary residence or of occupation—

(1) in the case of Dáil elections, on a qualifying date, of business premises with a rateable valuation of not less than £10 or,

(2) in the case of local elections, of land or premises for a qualifying period.

In addition, the Representation of the People Act, 1918, confers a right to vote at local elections on British subjects aged at least 21 years on the date on which the current register comes into force and who are registered in that register as local electors by virtue of the occupation of land or premises for a qualifying period. The wives of such persons who reside with them and are British subjects at least 30 years of age on the date on which the register comes into force are also entitled to be registered and to vote at local elections.

No person may vote at a Dáil or local election if he is subject to any legal incapacity or prohibition from voting. In particular no person may vote more than once at a Dáil election or at the election of members of any one local authority.

Could the Minister say if resident aliens are entitled to vote.

I have nothing to add to what I have stated in my reply.

But the Minister did not say a word about that.

Let us put it this way. I am sure the Minister is as anxious to help as anybody. Say a German comes to this country in the month of April and is here when the register of electors is being compiled in September or October. Is that person automatically entitled to be registered and entitled to vote in an election which might take place three months afterwards?

May I ask if a registered alien is entitled to go on the register of voters?

I have nothing to add to the reply I have given.

Why does the Minister not say he does not know.

That was not the point of the question and I have nothing further to add.

Have instructions already been issued to the returning officers or registrars to delete names of persons who are not Irish citizens from the register, no matter how long they have been living in this country?

They have got that instruction? Is the Deputy asking me?

I am asking the Minister —or shall I tell him?

May I ask whether registered aliens, expressing themselves as such, are entitled to be registered as voters? No answer.