Ministers oppose extending presidential vote to diaspora

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Ministers oppose extending presidential vote to diaspora


Agriculture Minister Michael Creed raised his objection to the referendum directly with the Taoiseach at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting. Photo: Arthur Carron
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed raised his objection to the referendum directly with the Taoiseach at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting. Photo: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is facing an internal Fine Gael backlash over plans to extend voting rights in presidential elections to the diaspora.

An increasing number of Fine Gael Cabinet ministers are understood to be opposed to extending voting rights to all Irish citizens over concerns about the impact it would have on elections.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed raised his objection to the referendum directly with the Taoiseach at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting. Other ministers who did not want to be named said they privately agreed with Mr Creed but did not speak up at the meeting.

“It is a nonsense idea based on something Enda Kenny announced when he was on a visit to America,” a Cabinet minister said.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy was initially tasked with bringing a memo on the referendum to Cabinet.

However, Mr Murphy insisted on sharing responsibility for the referendum with Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney.

The growing resistance to the referendum within Fine Gael emerged despite the Cabinet agreeing to delay the controversial vote until October.

The vote has been long scheduled to coincide with local and European elections in May but is now being delayed.

“This referendum is going have a high-profile debate and will need a strong campaign so the decision has been taken for the autumn,” a source said.

A separate referendum to reduce the “pause period” before a couple can get a divorce will go ahead as planned on May 24.

A vote on removing a constitutional amendment on a woman’s place in the home is not planned in the near future.

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Irish Independent


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