Referendum to be held on granting voting rights to Irish people living abroad
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has confirmed that the government is to go ahead with plans to hold a referendum to allow Irish citizens living outside of Ireland to vote in presidential elections.
The move would be hugely significant as it would also include those in Northern Ireland.
In a speech at the Famine Memorial in Philadelphia, Kenny confirmed that the government would be moving forward with plans and would mark a, "clear recognition of the importance that Ireland remains attached to her citizens wherever they were".
“I am especially pleased to be making this announcement as we prepare for our worldwide celebration of St Patrick’s Day and of all that is Irish,” Kenny said.
According to RTÉ, the decision to hold the referendum was decided at a cabinet meeting last week, and an options paper will be published later this month to decide the best way to move forward.
The referendum is likely to take place next year and if passed it will likely come into effect for the presidential election after the next one in 2018.
Numerous countries have processes in place already which allows their expats to vote in elections.
As things stands, Irish citizens living abroad are unable to vote in either Dáil or presidential elections in Ireland.
This article originally appeared on JOE.ie