By Declan Foley
In a recent interview in The Irish Times
, Ciaran Cannon, T.D and Minister for State for the Diaspora and International Development, declared his intention of seeking a Constitutional Amendment, to have a T.D elected by the Diaspora, from the Diaspora, at some time in the future.
The questions I must ask, does Mr Cannon know nothing of the Irish Constitution, or why Ireland, has not alone a Foreign Minister, but Embassies and Consulates throughout the world?
But, above all of this, he fails to comprehend that 1.3 million citizens of Norther Ireland would also be entitled to participate in such an election.
From personal experience of the Irish here in Melbourne, there would be enormous conflict over any candidate, which would be replicated throughout Australia, and the USA.
The vital consideration, before this matter grows legs, is that SF have strong organisation worldwide, and would control much of the vote, along with the Northern Irish vote, thereby giving SF another seat in Dáil Eireann.
From personal experience since coming to live in Australia in 1987, I have had a number of pertinent questions raised in the Dáil, and Seanad, by elected Members.
There is nothing to prevent me contacting any of the TD's representing Sligo-Leitrim, and its bits and pieces Constituency, or for that matter, contacting the Irish Embassy in Canberra, for assistance, if necessary.
What issue can any member of the Irish Diaspora have, in their adopted nation, that can be solved by raising it in the Dáil?
No Irish person who left Ireland has been denied their Aged Pension if entitled to it, and from personal experience, the staff in College Road, Sligo were most helpful when dealing with my application.
There are far more vital issues, not to mention health and housing, that require urgent money to serve, and provide, the resident electors of Ireland, their Constitutional entitlements.
All I have ever witnessed here in Melbourne, is Irish groups, seeking money from the Irish government, for this, that, and the other, daft idea. Ideas, that rarely if ever benefit Ireland, but do benefit the receivers, and their elite pals.
The recent, disgraceful postal ballot on same sex marriage here in Australia cost in the region of 150 million Australian dollars. The cost of allowing the Irish diaspora to participate in elections in Ireland would be a similar amount. Yet, the government cannot find money for health, or housing. Bear in mind this cost would be at every General Election.
Please read the Italian outcome of such a foolhardy adventure: http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1028&context=lawpapers