Inishowen teenager leading campaign for all-Ireland presidential voting rights

Cian Bambrick, from Malin, is leading the campaign to get equal voting rights for everyone on the Island of Ireland in Presidential elections.

Cian, who is 18-years-old, is organising a rally outside Stormont to raise awareness of his campaign, which would enable everyone who is eligible for an Irish passport on the island of Ireland to vote in presidential elections. As it stands now, only people living in the Republic of Ireland are able to vote.

Cian, who is Ulster Organiser in Ógra Fianna Fáil, said: “I joined Ógra Fianna Fáil in 2019 and I always had very strong republican values. I thought it was very unfair that people with the same citizenship as me and the same passport as me in Ireland couldn’t vote or elect their Head of State. We have a neighbour who is French and has been living in Ireland for years but he’s still able to vote in French elections for their president. That got me thinking that it would be something I could raise at a party level here.

“In April, I ran for the position of Ulster Organiser and I won it. I was one of the youngest ever to hold a senior position, aged 17 at the time. I’m good friends with former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who thinks my idea for this campaign is a good idea. I brought the motion to the Youth Council to bring it as a Party Policy and it passed. I have since been working with Senator Niall Blaney.

Cian Bambrick of "gra Fianna Fáil with former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. Cian is campainging for equalpresidential voting rights for everyone on the island of Ireland, which, if successful, would mean people in the six counties would be able to vote in the Irish presidential elections in the future.

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“On September 28 of this month, myself, Senator Erin McGreehan and a few SDLP MLAs will stand outside Stormont to campaign for equal presidential voting rights. This means that everyone who is eligible for an Irish passport would be able to vote in the presidential elections. This includes the Unionist community. I was speaking to Steve Aiken, former leader of the UUP and I also exchanged emails with Mike Nesbitt who said that no one has a problem with it. They said they wouldn’t use their vote if they had it but it’s still important they have the chance. I’ve yet to meet someone who is against the idea but, then you must ask - if everyone’s for it, why has it not be done yet? The answer to that is that there would have to be a referendum, which is very expensive. Our constitution is very outdated so they feel like if they change one thing to make it more modern, there will be a domino affect and they’ll have to modernise everything. The 12th amendment says that you have to be a member of a constituency to vote for the President and that’s what’s causing the issue.

“This is a very big stepping stone to reunification of Ireland and, in my eyes, would mean that the Irish government is actually seeing Irish people in the six counties as Irish citizens, which I don’t think they are now. It will be a way for the government to show that they believe an Irish person in Derry is just as Irish as someone in Cork, Kerry or Dublin. The Irish people in the six counties have had to fight very hard for their Irishness so I think it’s the least the government in the Republic can do.”

The rally will take place at Stormont on September 26, although this is subject to change. Cian is welcoming everyone to go and show their support. Cian says anyone who would like to be involved in the campaign and is aged between 16 and 30 can do so by becoming a member of Ógra Fianna Fáil. A petition has also been set up on Change.org called Le Chéile d’Éirinn, which can be viewed here.