Number of Migrants Voting in Local Elections Rises 44%

16 Jun 2010

Irish Times June 16 2010 ALISON HEALY

THERE WAS a 44 per cent increase in the number of immigrants who voted in last year's local elections, following a campaign which encouraged more immigrants to register and vote.

The campaign, by the New Communities Partnership and the Africa Centre, aimed to encourage 10,0000 more immigrants in 10 local authority areas to get involved in the June elections. An additional 15,681 immigrants registered and voted in those 10 areas.

While Irish citizens may vote in all elections and referendums, non-EU citizens may only vote in local elections. British citizens may vote in Dáil, European and local elections, while other EU citizens outside Britain may vote in European and local elections.

Prof Bryan Fanning of UCD's school of applied social studies said immigrants would not have political clout until a significant number became Irish citizens.

He said almost half of all applications for citizenship from eligible long-term residents were turned down in Ireland, compared with just 9 per cent in the UK.

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