Disappointed of Ballybrack

Jun 1st, 2008 | By | Category: Ireland

Lamp posts the length of Church Road bear referendum campaign posters. In true democratic fashion, most people are likely to decide their vote on the basis of whom they dislike the least.

An English friend maintains that he has a right to vote in the referendum; checking the electoral register, he is mistaken.

Having someone’s name and address means being able to check their registration details online, thus:

Your Details
Polling Station : WYVERN COI N. S. KILLINEY
Election Type [* see below] : D
Edited Register [** see below] : NO
Elector Number : LJ-1253
Supplementary : N

What does the letter ‘D’ stand for? Different? Disqualified? Maybe ‘dismayed’ at turning up and being unable to vote?

What it does stand for is being unable to vote next week, or in 2011 at the next presidential election.

[*] Election Type

Entitlement to vote, based on citizenship outlined below:

Local Elections European Elections Dáil Elections Referendum or Presidential Election
Resident Irish citizens (P)* YES YES YES YES
Resident British citizens (D)* YES YES YES NO
Resident EU citizens (E)* YES YES NO NO
Resident Non-EU citizens (L)* YES NO NO NO

* as indicated on the register

The right of British citizens to vote in general elections in Ireland dates from Ninth Amendment of the Constitution Act, 1984 which revised Article 16.1.2 to allow the following to vote in elections to Dáil Éireann. The Article reads:

i. All citizens, and
ii. such other persons in the State as may be determined by law, without distinction of sex who have reached the age of eighteen years who are not disqualified by law and comply with the provisions of the law relating to the election of members of Dáil Éireann, shall have the right to vote at an election for members of Dáil Éireann.

So under Article 16, the government passed a law allowing the British to vote.

It seemed that there was a loophole that would have allowed my English friend to have slipped through the net. The Constitution declares that everyone who can vote at a general election can vote in a referendum.

Article 47
3. Every citizen who has the right to vote at an election for members of Dáil Éireann shall have the right to vote at a Referendum.

Except, of course, there is no provision for British votes. “Every citizen” says the constitution, that means neither my friend nor myself.

Perhaps I should decline to complete my next tax return, sending it back, having written across it “Non-Citizen”.

Leave a comment »

  1. Ian

    I think you should with a copy of the attached!

  2. “What does the letter ‘D’ stand for?”

    Answer: Dedicated to Duty? 😉

    Ian, my other half has also got ‘D’ status despite being resident in Ireland since 1967!

    I wonder if the problem is more ‘non-EU-citizen’ than non-Irish citizen but then that doesn’t explain why you folks can’t vote in a Presidential election?

  3. It would be the same here unless you had Aussie citizenship. I had to be naturalised in order to vote . . . doesn’t hurt a bit! Now I have the best of both worlds, still retain my British passport and I’m an Aussie citizen!

  4. Grannymar,

    I could go to prison as a ‘political prisoner’!


    How did he get the ‘D’ status? I got mine from telling an election official that I held a British passport. I should have used my driving licence, against place of birth it says: Eire. Now, Taunton is may things but it is definitely not part of Ireland.


    Irish citizens enjoy full voting rights in the United Kingdom under 1949 legislation; the Irish government has never fully reciprocated. I could have taken an Irish passport automatically up until a few years ago on the basis of marriage and residence, now I can’t be bothered. It gives the French immigration officials something to raise an eyebrow about when they are handed three Irish passports and one British one.

  5. “How did he get the ‘D’ status?”

    He holds a British passport having been born and schooled in the UK.

    We play that game with family passports too, with the British passport going on the top or the bottom of the pile according to the country we’re travelling through! 😀

  6. Snoopimg around the electoral register, I have found various people whom I know hold British passports, but are registered as Irish citizens.

    It obviously depends on the registration official!

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