Giving the diaspora the right to vote would “swamp” the views of residents of the Republic of Ireland.
Currently, Irish citizens who are resident in the Republic of Ireland and over the age of 18 are entitled to vote in all elections and referendums.
Those who move abroad but plan to return within the next 18 months are also entitled to vote; however, campaigners have long argued the rules are too strict.
For last week’s Brazilian Presidential Election, thousands queued up in the streets of Dublin to cast their ballot.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, political commentator Keith Mills said Ireland should not follow suit.
“There’s almost 200 million Brazilians in the world and only four million of them live outside Brazil,” he said.
“In Ireland, the numbers are completely different; we’re seeing now a million passports a year being produced, so there are likely to be more Irish passport holders living outside the State than living inside the State.
“Therefore, if those people chose to vote, if they’re fully entitled to, they’d completely and utterly swamp the people who are actually impacted by the result.
“Don’t forget, if you live outside the country you’re not impacted by the result; the laws that are made… they don’t impact you directly.”
The Government has promised to hold a referendum on giving Northern Ireland and the diaspora a right to vote in Presidential elections in 2024.
VotingRights.ie Vice Chair Emma DeSouza said the vote will be very welcome to people in the North.
“Enfranchising citizens abroad is actually a global democratic norm,” she said.
“I’m just as Irish as anybody in the Republic of Ireland; the President of Ireland doesn’t just represent the Irish citizens that are resident in the 26 counties.
“The President of Ireland represents Irish people - of which I am one.
“I think we have to bear in mind that many people who are resident outside of the Irish State aren’t necessarily resident outside of the State by choice.
“Many of us in Northern Ireland are here due to the historical partition and many Irish citizens had to emigrate because they had to go to get a good job or to be able to find an affordable home.”
Mr Mills said it would be better to give the North and the diaspora representation in Seanad Éireann.
“I’m not against giving citizens who live outside the State a say in Irish politics but the way to do it is not to swamp the Irish electorate with people who are voting from outside the State,” he said.
“We could reform the Seanad and give seats to the diaspora through electronic voting.”
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Main image: File photo of a polling station in Ballsbridge, 25-05-2018. Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews