Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland residents should have vote in Irish presidential elections - Taoiseach

Leo Varadkar (Brian Lawless/PA)
Leo Varadkar (Brian Lawless/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he believes Irish citizens living in Northern Ireland - and other countries - should be able to vote for the next Irish president.

He said he was "strongly" believed in extending voting rights and was determined a referendum should take place in October to have laws in place for the next presidential election. 

Mr Varadkar told the Dail: "Our proposal is that all citizens, no matter where they may live in the world, will be entitled to register to vote for the next president.

"They will have to register to vote. It would be a postal ballot for those not living in this state.

"It would not be linked to having a passport because a passport is a travel document and there are many people who are Irish citizens who do not have passports or whose passports may be expired.

"As a result, it will be linked to citizenship rather than possessing a passport."

Michael D Higgins was re-elected as president last year to serve a seven-year term with the next election due in 2025.

Mr Varadkar added: "While I appreciate the argument regarding no taxation without representation, I must point out that the Dail sets taxes and passes legislation which applies to people who are resident here.

"The Presidency is different. The president does not set taxes and does not make laws. I would like to see a presidency for the 21st first century that is different to that which currently obtains.

"I would like a presidency that represents the Irish nation - not just the state - and that is elected by all citizens."

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