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Thread: Petition for the Rights of all Citizens to Vote in Presidential Elections

  1. #21
    First Team Gather round's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dodge View Post
    Pretty much ceremonial I said. Important enough distinction
    I was just exploring the implications, if we agree that it's ceremonial tending to completely so. One of the most obvious is to abolish the office. You already have a Taoiseach as head of government, a speaker in Dail Eireann and similar positions in the judiciary and other institutions. Maybe you don't need someone to open supermarkets and chat up sports teams, any more than we need a replacement for Mrs Windsor.

    If "Irish abroad" don't want an irish passport then I don't think they should vote
    That doesn't answer the basically opposite point I made. They may well want the passport, but it needs to be worth the money. Even €80 should get more than one ballot paper in 14 years.

    If they have a passport, and want to vote, I don't see why they can't keep local embassies/consulates aware of their address so they can send them ballots etc. You want the embassies to just send out ballots to anyone?
    Er, no. Did I suggest that? Registration with an embassy seems sensible. My parents worked abroad for 25 years (for the British Foreign Office) while continuing to vote through their Belfast North address.

  2. #22
    Now with extra sauce! Dodge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gather round View Post
    That doesn't answer the basically opposite point I made. They may well want the passport, but it needs to be worth the money. Even €80 should get more than one ballot paper in 14 years.
    Well it gets them all the consular assistence they may need. The point I was making was that its the only method we have of determining irish citizenship. Until thats changed a passport would be need (in my system)
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    Seasoned Pro peadar1987's Avatar
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    I think it's as well to have a figurehead and representative of Ireland at home and abroad. In theory, sitting members of government like the Taoiseach should be too busy actually running the country to engage in that sort of shenanigans.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dodge View Post
    Well it gets them all the consular assistence they may need.
    Makes it much easier to get into and around the EU too (if you're, say, living in Australia)

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    Capped Player DannyInvincible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by osarusan View Post
    There is going to have to be some cut-off point in terms of voting rights, and residency in Ireland seems to me to be a more fair one than birth in Ireland. I don't really see how a birth-related proposal is any improvement in terms of fairness.
    I suppose my reasoning stemmed simply from the fact that Irish citizenship is something conferred by birth (or immediate ancestry) rather than residence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spudulika View Post
    I'm loathe to allow Irish citizens from the irish tree voting rights. I saw personally how such a scheme completely and utterly messed up Croatia and the same could happen in Ireland.
    Out of interest, what exactly happened in Croatia? Could you elaborate? Cheers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dodge View Post
    Are you overstating the importance of the president by introducing the idea of it being fair/unfair?
    I didn't introduce the idea of it being fair or unfair; merely suggested in response to osarusan that, whilst still relatively unfair because arbitrary cut-off points naturally have to discriminate in some way or another, the new proposal would surely be more fair rather than less fair compared to the current situation.

    Don't mind the idea of irish citizens abroad voting for the President. Its pretty much ceremonial so any attempt to 'hijack it' would be pretty pointless.
    There's an interesting argument I often hear in relation to the potential unionist bloc north of the border (theoretical citizens who don't identify with the Irish state/nation) attaining a vote and GR alluded to it above. Those who are entitled to Irish citizenship and who claim the legal status of an Irish citizen are to be either considered Irish citizens or they're not and, like any other Irish citizen, would/should be entitled to vote however they wish. Any Irish citizen with an already-existing vote can "hijack" the election in much the same way as the scaremonger will suggest a northern unionist might, be they sympathetic to unionism (and there is a significant enough Protestant minority community in Donegal and around the southern border regions who would variously identify as traditional unionists or as of British or Ulster-Scots heritage anyway), anarchism, communism or whatever. All votes are to be treated with equal seriousness though in the eyes of the law, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Macy View Post
    President has little impact on what the state is like anyway, but it is important to how we are perceived abroad which can have a positive or negative effect on residents. Would we have got the (imo right) result we got the last time with the extra block? Or would we have McGuinness or even worse the bagman (due to postal votes having already gone)?
    The "right result" is surely the result supported by the democratic majority (or the result achieved by way of whatever democratic electoral system is to be used over the agreed electorate body). If voting had been extended to all Irish citizens resident on the island of Ireland and McGuinness had been elected last time out, that wouldn't make it the "wrong result" just because it wasn't to your fancy. You're only one Irish citizen yourself, after all.

  6. #26
    Capped Player DannyInvincible's Avatar
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    In light of Leo Varadkar's recent comments on extending voting rights to the Irish diaspora, I thought this was an interesting perspective on the possibility of a northern unionist bloc having a say in Irish elections: http://judecollinsjournalist.blogspo...it-to-leo.html

    Leo Varadkar, the south’s Transport Minister, is generally regarded as seriously right-wing. So I’m not sure what he was thinking of when he told journalists that he was in favour of votes for the Irish diaspora. “I like the idea of the President being the President of the Irish people and the Irish nation. We would like to extend voting rights to all Irish citizens”.

    He then added two highly significant points. “I would favour it for people who are only out of the country for a short period of time - maybe say they’re gone a year or two, But I don’t think people who are gone a long time should vote for our parliament.”

    ...

    Then there’s the unionist factor (which Leo diplomatically doesn’t mention either). Had people in the north been allowed to vote for who should be President of Ireland, would they have abstained with disdain? Or would they have voted to make sure that McGuinness didn’t get the job? Alternatively, would they have voted so he did get the job, since it’s generally acknowledged that McGuinness is one of the most popular politicians in the north, and not just among republicans.

    And finally, supposing Leo’s dream became reality and “all Irish citizens” had a vote for Dail Eireann. Would that swell or diminish the ranks of Sinn Féin in the Dail? I think you know the answer to that one. But even more intriguing is, what would unionists do? At first glance, you might think they’d declare they didn’t vote in foreign elections and ignore the whole thing. Maybe better take a second glance. The kind of government south of the border has always been important for the north, whether it’s tourism or ‘terrorism’ that’s at issue. There’d be several good reasons why unionists should cast a vote that would make the complexion of the Dail closer to their taste. On the other hand, that would mean unionists when they voted for the Dail were part of an all-Ireland electorate. Which would leave one big question: whither Stormont?
    Of course, I presume they'd first have to acknowledge a conferral of Irish citizenship in order to be eligible to vote in Irish elections, but, rather than "hi-jacking" such elections or making a mockery of them, would potential unionist voters see it as advantageous to take a serious or strategic interest in them were the right to vote to be extended to Irish citizens born north of the border?

  7. #27
    Coach BonnieShels's Avatar
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    Well first I'm sure they would have to "take up" their Irish citizenship. And that's where that would stop.
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    Not sure what Jude's on about there. Unionists aren't that bothered about the make-up of Dail Eireann, for various reasons. The big parties aren't that different in their attitude to NI- in itself largely as a result of their lack of real contrasting ideology. Those same parties (understandably) like to keep prolems like sectarianism at arms length; and ultimately the Irish Republic is a small country with limited political and economic clout.

    All that said, many of us would be amused if Marty and co. eventually held the balance of power with say 10-15 TDs.

    Unionists would be even less interested in electing a ceremonial who opens supermarkets and chats up rugby players, as I mentioned above. Which is the only election likely to be opened to those outside the state, surely?
    Last edited by Gather round; 04/01/2013 at 9:03 AM.

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    Capped Player DannyInvincible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BonnieShels View Post
    Well first I'm sure they would have to "take up" their Irish citizenship. And that's where that would stop.
    Pragmatism has superseded principle in the past. The McGimpsey brothers' case is one example of this.

    1. This is an appeal by the plaintiffs against the dismissal on the 25th July, 1998, by order of the High Court made by Barrington J. of their claim for a declaration that the "Agreement between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom" made on the l5th November, 1985 (the Anglo-Irish Agreement) is contrary to the provisions of the Constitution.


    The parties


    2. The plaintiffs are two brothers, each of whom was born in Northern Ireland, and each of whom now resides in Northern Ireland.


    3. In the course of his judgment Barrington J. described the political ambitions and activities of both the plaintiffs in the following words:-


    "Both plaintiffs are members of the Official Unionist party of Northern Ireland. Both are deeply concerned about the present state of Northern Ireland and of all Ireland. Both reject any form of sectarianism and both have been involved in peace movements working to accommodate people of various traditions who live on the island of Ireland. Both gave evidence before the New Ireland Forum and, in oral and written submissions, attempted to explain to the Forum how the problem appeared to men fully committed to unionism but interested in finding a peaceful solution to the problem of Northern Ireland and of Ireland.
    Both believe that the Anglo-Irish Agreement has aggravated the problem and instead of solving the problem, has become part of it."
    It would also be naive to think that only nationalists sought to take advantage of the Scottish university fees exemption for Irish passport holders (non-UK/EU students) before the Scottish government eventually closed what they viewed as a loophole.

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    Capped Player DannyInvincible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gather round View Post
    Not sure what Jude's on about there. Unionists aren't that bothered about the make-up of Dail Eireann, for various reasons. The big parties aren't that different in their attitude to NI- in itself largely as a result of their lack of real contrasting ideology. Those same parties (understandably) like to keep prolems like sectarianism at arms length; and ultimately the Irish Republic is a small country with limited political and economic clout.

    All that said, many of us would be amused if Marty and co. eventually held the balance of power with say 10-15 TDs.
    Would unionists not prefer post-nationalists rather than republicans staunchly opposed to partition wielding greater influence south of the border? It would ensure the border was in a more secure position for them, on the southern side at least.

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    Post-nationalist, post-schmuck. I'm not convinced that such a position really exists. When did it begin?

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    Capped Player DannyInvincible's Avatar
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    At some point between Ireland achieving independence and joining the EC, I would have thought. I always thought of the Progressive Democrats and similar types as post-nationalists. I never got the impression Fine Gael had ending partition atop the party's list of priorities either. As for Fianna Fáil, they are "The Republican Party" in name only.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DannyInvincible View Post
    At some point between Ireland achieving independence and joining the EC, I would have thought. I always thought of the Progressive Democrats and similar types as post-nationalists. I never got the impression Fine Gael had ending partition atop the party's list of priorities either. As for Fianna Fáil, they are "The Republican Party" in name only
    I think we may be talking about two separate trends here. Yes, at some point after 1922 Southern parties' priority changed from ending partition to lobbying for the interests of NI nationalists. You could argue that this happened quite quickly- the boundary discussions were abandoned in 1925. Or you could point to 1945 (Britain surviving WW2) or 1973 as you suggest.

    Trouble is, for 25 years after the latter date the South continued with the fantasy of control over NI, and even now is aspires to a united Ireland which could still theoretically leave a large hostile minority opposed to the state even if the border goes. All that basically contradicts 'post-nationalism', even though we all know any future PD-like party, let alone FG, FF and even SF would all sh*t themselves at any more than a notional possibility of a united Ireland next Tuesday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DannyInvincible View Post
    Pragmatism has superseded principle in the past. The McGimpsey brothers' case is one example of this.
    From my brief glancing over that, the McGimpseys never expressed their acception that they "were" Irish Citizens. Barrington J. merely assumed for the purposes of the case that as they were born in the north of Ireland that they are entitled to Irish Citizenship and therefore the case proceeded on that basis.
    That they were arguing against the Anglo-Irish Agreement was in contravention of Article 2, which as Unionists, makes no sense, is irrelevant.
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    Capped Player DannyInvincible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gather round View Post
    Trouble is, for 25 years after the latter date the South continued with the fantasy of control over NI, and even now is aspires to a united Ireland which could still theoretically leave a large hostile minority opposed to the state even if the border goes. All that basically contradicts 'post-nationalism', even though we all know any future PD-like party, let alone FG, FF and even SF would all sh*t themselves at any more than a notional possibility of a united Ireland next Tuesday.
    I see your point; the constitution certainly cannot be described as a post-nationalist document so long as the explicit aspiration to see the island united remains codified within it.

    However, as a unionist, wouldn't you rather have a party like Fine Gael, who are, at the very least, post-nationalist in practice and quite content to maintain the status quo, in power or having greater influence south of the border rather than a fundamentally-republican party like Sinn Féin, who would undoubtedly ensure that an imminent end to partition remained top of the political agenda and within the public consciousness, be that in the form of pushing for border referenda, simply giving the idea greater airtime in public discourse or whatever?

    For example, Labour in the UK always seemed more sympathetic to engaging and negotiating with republicans/nationalists in the north than the more-resolutely-unionist Conservatives, so you might say Labour being in power in the UK was preferable from such a perspective.

    Perhaps I'm overplaying any potential substantive effect of such scenarios in light of the Good Friday Agreement, but the constitutional position of NI is still open-ended and negotiable, as far as its wording is concerned.

    Quote Originally Posted by BonnieShels View Post
    From my brief glancing over that, the McGimpseys never expressed their acception that they "were" Irish Citizens. Barrington J. merely assumed for the purposes of the case that as they were born in the north of Ireland that they are entitled to Irish Citizenship and therefore the case proceeded on that basis.
    That they were arguing against the Anglo-Irish Agreement was in contravention of Article 2, which as Unionists, makes no sense, is irrelevant.
    I understand one of them had attained an Irish passport. Was possession of Irish citizenship a prerequisite to the granting of locus standi in this instance? (Is citizenship a necessary prerequisite to the right to bring a case to the Irish courts in all circumstances? I'm not completely sure on that.) It appears it was in this case at least though. Otherwise, I see no reason for the chief justice to deliberate over the issue, as if to acknowledge the plaintiffs had satisfied some necessary criteria. On that basis, presumably, the case could not have proceeded if neither were Irish citizens, or if either had denied they were Irish citizens. It was in light of their "not [seeking] to vary the finding of the learned trial judge" in relation to the assumption of Irish citizenship that the chief justice proceeded.

    Anyway, even on the latter matter relating to the content of article 2, I still think their case demonstrated that unionists would be prepared to overlook their strictest principles if being paradoxically pragmatic about matters in a "foreign" jurisdiction and pertaining to a document, or the upholding of articles within it, in which they had no genuine ideological interest, was more preferable to their ultimate aspirations.

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    Well you must generally have an interest in the outcome of a case in order to bring one to court.

    When it comes to the Constitution, generally speaking, it is only of interest to citizens and is only in their interest that cases are brought, ie. a Zulu warrior chief is unlikely to bring a case against the State due to some contravention. And if he were he would have to satisfy the presiding judge that it is in his interest and in the interest of all citizenry that it is brought.

    Barrington J's interpretation of the McGimpseys' status was merely a way to circuvent the needless process of which we already knew that they were entitled to citizenship by virtue of their birth in Ireland.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannyInvincible View Post
    However, as a unionist, wouldn't you rather have a party like Fine Gael, who are, at the very least, post-nationalist in practice and quite content to maintain the status quo, in power
    No, as said above I honestly don't think it makes any real difference to most Unionists whether FG or someone else (obviously most often FF in the past) leads the government in the South. All the main parties remain nationalist in principle whatever they do in practice. I'll accept that a hypothetical situation with SF as the biggest Southern party would be a change, but can't see it happening in the politically foreseeable future (ie at least a generation).

    All the Southern parties bar Sinn Fein have accepted the status quo for decades, as discussed above.

    Also, Ulster unionism is just one (single) issue I support. I don't judge any outside party purely or even mainly on their attitude to it.

    For example, Labour in the UK always seemed more sympathetic to engaging and negotiating with republicans/nationalists in the north than the more-resolutely-unionist Conservatives, so you might say Labour being in power in the UK was preferable from such a perspective
    Not sure whether you're being serious here. British Labour's long-term attitude to NI has been not merely another fantasy (that the single-issue nationalist SDLP acts as local 'sister' party), but is actually quite vindictive: any local aspiring activists aren't merely ignored, but barred. On the other hand, the extent of their engagement is limited- in recent years just throwing money at the devolved overgrown local council.

    As for the Tories, they're not really better or wose on the NI issue. Or many others. Mrs THatcher would have blanched at some of the right-wing crap Miliband and co are coming up with nowadays.

    Perhaps I'm overplaying any potential substantive effect of such scenarios in light of the Good Friday Agreement, but the constitutional position of NI is still open-ended and negotiable, as far as its wording is concerned
    I think that- like a lot of Southern commentators- you overstate the GFA's significance, maybe because a formal constitution and referenda are so important in your system. The Agreement is important, but not neccesarily long-lasting: if it ever becomes seriously unattractive to Unionists, they'll just reject it.

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    Capped Player DannyInvincible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gather round View Post
    Also, Ulster unionism is just one (single) issue I support. I don't judge any outside party purely or even mainly on their attitude to it.
    Of course. I wasn't necessarily suggesting it would be the only issue of concern to you.

    Not sure whether you're being serious here. British Labour's long-term attitude to NI has been not merely another fantasy (that the single-issue nationalist SDLP acts as local 'sister' party), but is actually quite vindictive: any local aspiring activists aren't merely ignored, but barred. On the other hand, the extent of their engagement is limited- in recent years just throwing money at the devolved overgrown local council.
    Would issues such as the peace process culminating in the signing of the GFA, the granting of devolution and the establishment of the (albeit delayed) Saville Inquiry have progressed as they did had the Conservatives been in power in Britain at the time? With Thatcher's remark about "Northern Ireland [being] as British as Finchley" in mind, the Conservatives always struck me as being more trenchant and less open to negotiating the constitutional status of NI, never mind publicly entertaining the interests and concerns of republicans, but perhaps it's just a perception and I'm open to correction.

    Why do you suppose Labour are ignorant/vindictive in their attitude? Do you perceive it as a witting vindictiveness?

    I think that- like a lot of Southern commentators- you overstate the GFA's significance, maybe because a formal constitution and referenda are so important in your system. The Agreement is important, but not neccesarily long-lasting: if it ever becomes seriously unattractive to Unionists, they'll just reject it.
    From time to time, I suppose I do forget that democracy was never a long-standing unionist tradition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DannyInvincible View Post
    Would issues such as the peace process culminating in the signing of the GFA, the granting of devolution and the establishment of the (albeit delayed) Saville Inquiry have progressed as they did had the Conservatives been in power in Britain at the time?
    The peace 'process' started well before 1998: it was a genuine priority for John Major, who was PM for seven of the previous eight years.

    I think devolution might have progressed more or less similarly had the Tories got back into government in 2001 or 2005. I mean, it suits them being able to park a lot of issues in the Holyrood long grass

    Dunno about Saville. I'm no Tory but they have a point that spending hundreds of millions to tell us what we already largely know iisn't necessarily a politically sensible use of resources. See also the Finucane case.

    With Thatcher's remark about "Northern Ireland [being] as British as Finchley" in mind, the Conservatives always struck me as being more trenchant and less open to negotiating the constitutional status of NI, never mind publicly entertaining the interests and concerns of republicans, but perhaps it's just a perception and I'm open to correction
    You overstate a throwaway line. Thatcher was a senior member of the govt which parleyed with the IRA in the early 70s. Five years later the most 'hardline' NI minister of the lot was Labour's Roy Mason. Like all parties, Labour and Tory are more trenchant in public than private.

    Why do you suppose Labour are ignorant/vindictive in their attitude? Do you perceive it as a witting vindictiveness?
    I didn't say they were ignorant: they don't really think SDLP are a socialist party. They've being deliberately obtuse and dishonest, partly to park the issue as above, partly to keep the largely Irish Catholic union wing of the party happy with a titbit.

    As for actively banning local activists in NI aye, that's deliberately vindictive. Fcuk 'em.

    From time to time, I suppose I do forget that democracy was never a long-standing unionist tradition.
    Very droll. How does rejecting (by voting against) a previous political decision contradict democracy? Surely the reverse. Unionists are under no obligation to do anything simply because not doing it would oblige the South to go through the hassle of another referendum, or whatever.

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    And would that Unionists interfere with the affairs of a "foreign" country...

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2013/0104/bel...nion-flag.html

    Quote Originally Posted by RTE
    Loyalist activist Willie Frazer has said he is organising a demonstration in Dublin next weekend as part of the ongoing protests over the union flag controversy.

    Mr Frazer, who is based in Markethill, Co Armagh said he expects 150 people to take part in a short protest at Leinster House at midday on Saturday, 12 January.

    He said the protest will be peaceful and has informed gardaí of his plans.

    Mr Frazer was involved in organising an Orange Order parade in Dublin in 2006, which ended in a riot.
    The equation of City Hall with Leinster House is quite something. Would they not be better off heading to Monaghan or Dundalk to protest at equivalent and more "local" Council offices.

    God save our senses.
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