Europe

Irish presidential voting rights referendum delayed

Michael D Higgins
Image caption Irish citizens living abroad were unable to vote in last year's election which saw Michael D Higgins returned as president

A referendum to offer Irish citizens living outside the Republic of Ireland voting rights in presidential elections has been postponed.

If passed, Irish citizens living in Northern Ireland would have a say in electing future Irish presidents.

It had been fixed for 24 May, but has now been delayed until October.

The May date is the same day as council and European elections, as well as a referendum on easing restrictions on divorce, which will still go ahead.

Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Leo Varadkar told the Dáil (Irish parliament) that the cabinet decision to postpone the vote was taken to maximise the chances of the referendum being passed, and mindful of the other votes due to take place on 24 May.

The proposal to hold a referendum on extending presidential voting rights was overwhelmingly approved in 2013 by members of the constitutional convention body, which discusses proposed amendments to the Irish constitution.

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