Migrant Power in Politics: your questions answered

There's a General Election coming up! Voting will take place on Friday, February 26th. Since 2011, over 90,000 migrants from all over the world have become Irish citizens. That's a lot of votes!

 政治中的移民力量:2016 爱尔兰选举常见问题

Migrant Power in Politics

Let's make sure migrant voices are heard in the 2016 election and build Migrant Power in Politics.

What is a General Election?

A General Election is a national election to vote in a new Dáil, the larger of Ireland's two houses of parliament.

In 2016, 40 constituencies (electoral districts) will together elect 158 TDs (members of the Dáil).

Who can vote in the General Election?

Any Irish or British citizen aged 18 or older and ordinarily resident in the State is entitled to vote in the General Election, as long as you are listed on the electoral register - so make sure you register!

How do I register to vote?

First, check the register to make sure you're not already there. If not - or if your details are incorrect, you just need to add your name to the Supplemental Register.

Is this information available in any other languages?

Yes! The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has produced info leaflets in Arabic, Chinese, Czech, FrenchGerman, HungarianItalian, LatvianLithuanianPolish, Portugese, RomanianRussianSlovak and Spanish. Nice one!

Click HERE for more multilingual publications.

How do I know what constituency I'm in?

SmartVote.ie is a brand-new site that will not only tell you what constituency you're in and what candidates are running in your constituency, but if you spend a few minutes answering 30 questions on various topics, SmartVote will also tell you which candidates share your views on those issues. Amazing!

How do I find out more about the candidates in my constituency?

As mentioned above, SmartVote.ie is one excellent tool to help you decide who to vote for - but it's not the only one!

Once you know which constituency you're in, you can go to The Journal's election portal - not only have they listed contact details and full social media links for every candidate, but they've asked each one about their key priorities if elected. WhichCandidate.ie, the Irish Times' dedicated election site, also lists each candidate's electoral history plus their main message to voters.

How can I contact my current TDs?

The brilliant whoismytd.com provides full contact details for the TDs in your constituency - you can email, phone or write to your TD. If they are active on Facebook or Twitter, you can also contact them there. If you would like to speak to a TD in person, ask for an appointment or find out when they hold clinics - open days for constituents to meet TDs and raise issues with them.

Where can I find out more about voting in Ireland?

Citizens Information is a great place to start - you'll find information on registering, facilities for voters with disabilities, and an explanation of Ireland's Proportional Representation system.

The Department of Environment, Community & Local Government is responsible for elections, so there's lots of info on the Department website.

Can I find out what my local TD has said about migration/workers' rights/equality/another issue that affects me?

Yes! At least, you can find out what they have said in the Dáil. kildarestreet.com contains records of everything said in the Dáil by all TDs. Search for your TD's name, then use the search box in the top right-hand corner to search through their speeches in the Dáil for terms like migrants, immigrants, workers, employees, families, football, icecream...whatever you're interested in!

I might not be at home on the day of the General Election. How can I vote?

Postal votes are available in certain circumstances - click HERE and scroll down to Postal Voters List for details.

I have a disability and can't go to a polling station. How can I vote?

The Citizens Information site lists your options HERE, or you can download a Government information leaflet HERE (pdf).

I don't have a vote. How can I make my voice heard?

We've got some ideas about that! All migrant rights activists (whether or not you're a citizen) are welcome to our Migrants' Forum on Sunday 22nd November and to a Meet the Politicians forum in the new year. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates.

Undocumented migrants have a voice too, through the Justice for the Undocumented campaign - check out their Find a Voter campaign.

I'm really interested in getting more involved in Irish politics, in particular making political candidates more aware of migrant rights issues in Ireland.

Great! You're very welcome to get involved in MRCI's Migrant Power in Politics project (see below). Email helen@mrci.ie to find out more about our plans to inform politicians about the critical issues of the day facing migrant communities and how our campaigners are going to build migrant power in politics in the run up to the General Election.

You didn't answer my question!

Sorry about that! Please email Aoife at communications@mrci.ie and we'll do our best. 🙂

Migrant Power in Politics (MPP)

The MPP project aims to support and increase migrant political engagement in the run up to the 2016 General Election and deepen political candidates' understanding of migrant rights issues in Ireland.

Some of the issues we know you feel very strongly about: the urgent need for immigration reform and transparent laws, greater protections for vulnerable workers like au pairs, tackling racism and discrimination - especially in housing, applying for a job and the work place - strengthening the voice and representation of people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds in Irish politics, ending direct provision, a regularisation for undocumented migrants.

Over the next few months we will

  1. Run a voter education drive, producing tools and materials making it easier to vote and have your voice heard in Irish politics.
  2. Carry out communications and political education training with migrant activists and leaders to build their skills & knowledge to lobby and critically engage with the political system.
  3. With migrant leaders and activists, inform and educate political candidates on issues of the day for migrant communities in Ireland, creating a political manifesto and supporting analysis on modern migration in Ireland.

This work is made possible through the Caring for Communities Grant from the Community Foundation for Ireland.