BibleCode Sundays rally second generation Irish in push for votes from abroad

BibleCode Sundays rally second generation Irish in push for votes from abroad

MUCH-LOVED Celtic rockers BibleCode Sundays are to rally Britain’s huge second generation Irish community behind the cause of votes for the Irish abroad.

The popular London-based band will play a benefit gig in the capital later this month after the Irish Government stalled on bringing forward proposals on the issue.

Andy Nolan, BibleCode Sundays’ accordion player, said the subject was “close to the hearts” of his bandmates and their fanbase, which includes a large number of people of Irish descent.

“If I could vote for Ireland’s President I would do it,” he said.

“Although I worry about people in Ireland thinking I am interfering too much in politics at home, there are a lot of people of Irish descent in Britain like me who feel very passionate about Ireland and would want to vote.

“They keep a very keen eye on Irish politics, especially on the situation in the North, and some know more about Irish politics than people who were born in Ireland.”

The BibleCode Sundays gig is set to take place at Mannions Prince Arthur pub in Tottenham on Saturday, May 31.

All proceeds will go towards London-based campaign group Votes for Irish Citizens Abroad.

VICA said it would use the money to fund its campaigning work, including organising meetings in Britain and lobbying politicians in Ireland.

“We think all people who have Irish citizenship should be able to vote for Ireland’s President,” said Peter Middleton, a VICA committee member.

“We are talking about people who view being Irish as a positive thing, have gone to the bother of getting an Irish passport and who regularly travel to Ireland.”

The Roscommon man added: “This would actually promote Ireland. Even though the President is just a figurehead, we need to encompass these people into Ireland by letting them vote.”

The announcement comes a week after VICA submitted proposals to the Irish Government’s ongoing review of its strategy for engaging with the Irish abroad.

In its submission, it called for all Irish citizens to be given a vote in Presidential elections, while calling for only Irish-born emigrants to be given Dáil votes.

The Taoiseach faced criticism last month after he failed to meet his own target for responding to the Constitutional Convention’s recommendation that the Irish abroad should be allowed vote in Presidential elections.

The Irish Government is yet to announce whether or not it will hold a referendum on the subject.

Ireland is one of just four of the EU’s 28 member states that don’t let their citizens abroad vote in elections at home.

In January the EU called on Ireland to reform its voting rules, saying it was “punishing” people for leaving and treating them like “second class citizens”.

Tickets to the BibleCode Sundays gig, which begins at 9pm, are £5 in advance or £7 on the night. For more information or for tickets, contact [email protected].