We’re Coming Back..
WHILE scrolling through my monotonous newsfeed on Facebook last week I stumbled upon a page called ‘We’re Coming Back‘. Intrigued by it I decided to actually have a look and see what it was all about. Normally if I see a suggested page in my newsfeed I sweep by it but I believe this page is promoting something very worth while and something which affects a lot of young Irish people.
It’s no secret that the number of young Irish people who have left Ireland’s shores is an ongoing trend and one that is unlikely to slow down anytime soon. Recently, I saw that the Irish government were actually encouraging Irish youth to leave. Perhaps because this way it looks like unemployment is being reduced when in fact it’s just the number of people that is declining. ‘We’re Coming Back‘ is a movement which campaigns for the voting rights of Irish abroad.
Travelling is a great thing if you ask me. I have pretty much had the travel bug since I was about 19 or 20 and it’s allowed me encounter some great and some not-so-great experiences. That’s all well and good and while I’m content where I am now for the moment I think there will be a day when I will want to return to Ireland. The reason so many young Irish are scattered all over the world from Asia to Europe to the Middle East is because there is little, if any, opportunity for us unless you have been lucky enough to land your dream job. Or any job for that matter. So with this in mind, why shouldn’t we as Irish citizens have the right to contribute to the future of Ireland? The state of the country now frustrates me but I hope that one day it will have redeemed some of what was lost so foolishly through greed and corruption.
The campaign was set up to give the Irish abroad a voice. The fact that we are currently the European country with the highest number of emigrants is enough to show that we need to have an outlet for our concerns and a say in the future of the country. Ireland is one of only three countries in Europe that provides no form of overseas vote for its citizens abroad while 115 other countries worldwide do provide such options. Countries such as France, Italy, Mali, Peru and Mexico are just a few of these countries.
The campaign has three very clear goals. Firstly, to get a vote for the Presidential campaign in 2018. Secondly, to obtain direct representation for the Irish abroad in the Seanad and thirdly limited representation in Dáil Eireann. This movement urges us to respect and acknowledge how emigration has affected Ireland in the past and in the present. Just last week the European Commission and Viviane Reding, the European Justice Commissioner, shed light on the fact that Irish abroad don’t have voting rights and questioned this in terms of Ireland as a democratic nation.
As the very name of this campaign suggests, we’re coming back. Just because so much of Ireland’s youth is abroad now doesn’t mean at least some of them won’t return. Granted it’s unrealistic to say we all will as we strive to build a life for ourselves abroad there’s no denying that the desire for emigrants to come home is there. I suggest we all get behind this project whether it affects us diretly or indirectly. Our right to have a say is just as important as those who remain in the country.
I would urge everyone to have a look and like the page linked here. In December ‘We’re Coming Back‘ started their ‘Toast for a vote‘ idea where Irish all over the world rasied their glasses to Irish emigrants getting their right to vote. Those who took part included photographs and submitted them to the campaign’s Facebook page. The truth is we tend to complain an awful lot about what we dislike about our government and so on, but what do we really do about it to change it? We need to act more on our complaints and not just talk about them and the Irish diaspora deserve the right to vote.
Photos c/o trinitynews.ie, facebook.com