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"Startling" Amount of People Coming Home To Vote Are Not Aware Of Important 18-Month Rule

By Megan Cassidy

May 24, 2018 at 11:58am


Social media is already abuzz with people arriving home to vote in the eighth referendum. 

However campaigners are driving home the fact that not all Irish abroad are eligible to vote, despite being on the register and even receiving polling cards. 

This is because of an eighteen-month rule which states that if the Irish citizen has been abroad longer than eighteen months, or does not plan to return to live in Ireland within eighteen months, their vote may be contested. 

According to the Irish Timescampaigner with the London Irish Abortion Abortion Rights Claire McGowran is highlighting the rule to ensure there are no legal challenges if the result is tight. 

She said: "We wanted to make sure that there is nothing that can call the referendum into question if we get a Yes vote." 

“The amount of people who were shocked to hear about the 18-month thing was quite startling. I think because of that it became apparent that we had to do a lot of awareness around it.

“Our big point in all of this is not to have an issue after the referendum and that if we get a yes it is very fair and clear.”

Legal adviser to two referendum commissions Ailbhe O' Neill said "a person who moves abroad to study for a year but intends to return thereafter would not lose their status of being ordinarily resident under the Act, whereas a person who emigrates with no intention of returning within the timeframe would no longer be ordinarily resident." 

Earlier this year, the London Irish Abortion Rights Campaign released a touching video about coming home to vote.

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