Press Centre

#newvoters16: 8 new citizens talk about the issues motivating their first vote

Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, 18 February 2016

Since 2011, almost 100,000 people have become Irish citizens. They are eligible to vote in the general election, but many feel their voices and concerns have been absent from the election campaign so far. Today the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) has released a campaign video in which 8 new Irish citizens highlight the issues they care about – including racism, workers’ rights and housing.

Pablo Rojas Coppari, MRCI Policy and Research Officer, became an Irish citizen in 2014 and will cast his first vote in this election. Speaking today he said, “Like our health system and our education system, Ireland’s immigration system affects thousands of people every day. From the long overnight queues in the cold on Burgh Quay to the many undocumented workers and families with no way to regularise their status in Ireland, it’s clear that the immigration system is broken – but it has barely been mentioned in the run-up to the election.”

Rojas Coppari continued, “The Ireland of 2016 is a modern, diverse and multicultural nation, but most election campaigns simply haven’t reflected that reality – and there is little to no commitment to supporting candidates from minority ethnic backgrounds. We need to sort out the immigration system; we need to tackle racism; and we must make sure that everyone is heard in the decisions affecting their lives.”

As young voter Anatoliy states in the film, “From direct provision to workers’ rights, from racism to education, the issues affecting a diverse Ireland must be on the agenda of the 32nd Dáil.”

The film ends with a simple message to political candidates: Come get our votes.

Watch the short video here: https://vimeo.com/155708655

CONTACT: 

Aoife Murphy, MRCI Communications 01 524 1454 

Notes to Editor:

The film was funded by the Community Foundation of Ireland as part of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland’s Migrant Power in Politics project, which has also involved a forum with election candidates and 150 new voters & migrant workers, political training for new voters and campaigners, and the dissemination of a Doorstep Manifesto to help campaigners to highlight key issues.