Photographer Dave Barrett from Dunlavin wasn’t permitted to vote in last Friday’s Referendum as he is now considered to be a non-EU citizen.
Dave has been voting for almost 30 years at his local polling station in Dunlavin but received a letter from Wicklow County Council in April with information for electors who don’t have full voting rights and aren’t Irish citizens.
“I admit I was more focused on Punchestown than the Referendum in April. I did however check the Voting Register online and I thought nothing more of it when I saw my name, polling station and elector number listed on the register.”
His wife received her voting card the week before the Referendum. Dave’s card wasn’t with it and he assumed it was just delayed. He started to investigate further when the card still hadn’t arrived two days before the Referendum.
“I discovered that I have been re-classified as a ‘Potential European Elector’ (Category A) and am now considered to be a citizen of one of the EU countries other than Ireland or Great Britain!”
Wicklow County Council required a copy of his ‘Naturalization Certificate’ by the end of April to give him full voting rights and allow him to vote in the Referendum.
“Where do I get that Certificate? As far as I know there is no embassy in Dunlavin and I don’t know what country they think I am from? North Korea?”
“My status was also checked at the polling station on Friday and they confirmed that I wouldn’t have been permitted to vote even if I turned up to explain.
They had me listed as a Resident Non-EU citizen (Category L) and were also interested to know where I was from!”
“Wicklow County Council will obviously say it is an error and could have been sorted if I sent them my ‘Naturalization Certificate’ and documentation in April.
I suppose I’m lucky that I can still vote in the Local Elections even if I can’t prove I am an Irish citizen.”