Leo Varadkar: ‘Loves’ idea of transforming presidency into one ‘for the whole Irish nation’

 Leo Varadkar: ‘Loves’ idea of transforming presidency into one ‘for the whole Irish nation’

Update 12.05pm:The social protection minister has said he "loves" the idea of transforming the presidency into one for the whole global Irish nation.

A referendum is to be held to give Irish citizens around the world a vote in electing the President.

It's estimated the electorate globally could be as much as 3.5 million - more than had the right to vote in the State in 2011.

Leo Varadkar says the idea has his full backing.

“I can understand why people may not want it for a parliamentary election because the Dáil and the Seanad decide what our laws are and what are taxes are - and if you don’t live in the state you are not bound by them.

“But the presidency is something different. It is much wider, it is a very different institution and I love the idea of the presidency being transformed into a presidency for the whole Irish nation. And we are a global nation.”

Earlier: The number of people outside the State with a vote in the next presidential election could be as high as 3.6 million.

That is according to the Junior Minister responsible for drawing up the plans around the new scheme, announced yesterday.

The initiative confirmed by Enda Kenny could potentially mean more voters outside the State than there are within it.

Diaspora Minister Joe McHugh, who is now responsible for the plans, said the number of voters could be huge.

"You're talking about, you know you're including outside the State so for Northern Ireland 1.8 million, you're talking about another 1.8 million citizens, potential citizens internationally so you know that's 3.6 so you're talking big numbers here."

Meanwhile, a leading Irish-American congressman said there may be an increase in the number of people seeking Irish passports, in order to get a vote.

Brendan Boyle was responding to plans to give all Irish citizens, across the world, the right to vote in Presidential elections.

Congressman Boyle, who is the only congressman to have a parent born in Ireland, has given the thumbs-up to the new plans.

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