Vote for everyone who can’t
Not everyone has a vote in Ireland - so make your vote count!
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve been living in Ireland for 11 years, you could easily call me Polish-Irish. Ireland is my home, I will sit my Leaving Cert this June here and hopefully go on to college and live my life in Dublin. I try to play an active part in Irish society and I’m passionate about promoting the voice of students among decision makers. It’s funny, I’ve done a lot of work in the past promoting the vote at 16 referendum and promoting the importance of voting at referendums in Ireland, although I can’t vote at them myself.
As a Polish citizen, I can vote at European and local elections, but not general elections or referendums. I can still vote in Polish elections, even though I live in Ireland. I’m really looking forward to the Polish presidential elections which are coming up, and I’d love to be a full Irish citizen and participate in the upcoming referendum, but unfortunately the cost of citizenship, which is 850 euro, is too much for me to pay at the moment.
I try to play an active part in promoting student voices in Ireland. I am the current Education Officer and now incoming Deputy President of the Irish Second-level Students’ Union, I have previously spoken about voting at 16 and student voice on behalf of young people in Ireland at the Constitutional Convention, I have also personally participated in canvasses organised by my local TD and I was delighted that anyone could join them and ask him questions about the referendum. It was nice to meet people with different opinions and to discuss the importance of having an informed opinion and voting.
I’ve tried to promote voting and marriage equality as much as I could, but unfortunately when it comes to the referendum I cannot cast a vote. I cannot have a say in this change in the society in which I live. But, for the majority of the people reading this, this will not be an issue, and that’s why I’m writing this article today.
I’m writing this to tell my Irish friends to appreciate their right to vote in referendums and to use it this May! Please, regardless of what your vote is going to be, if you are eligible to cast it, then don’t let this opportunity pass you by. There is still time to get onto the supplementary register, if you haven’t registered to vote yet. If you have registered already, then make sure to get to your local polling station and cast your vote. This is your chance to use your voice, we live in a democratic society and as citizens of Ireland it is your right and your responsibility to vote. Do it for your LGBT friends, do it for yourself, and do it for people like me, who would love to take part in this referendum but can’t.