Referendum to allow Irish citizens abroad to vote announced by Taoiseach

The Taoiseach's confirmed plans for a referendum to give Irish citizens abroad a vote in presidential elections.

Enda Kenny's made the announcement as he attends St Patrick's Day celebrations in Philadelphia.

Four years ago the Constitutional Convention recommended that all Irish citizens, whether inside the State or not, should have the right to vote in presidential elections.

Early last year the Government confirmed it would start looking at how it might be handled.

And today, standing at a Memorial to Irish famine victims in Philadelphia, Enda Kenny's announcing that a referendum is on the way.

He says the week of St Patrick's Day is the right time to make the move - as it indicates Ireland cherishes its citizens, no matter where in the world they might be.

There's no word yet, however, of exactly what criteria would apply - but it will mean extending the right to vote to hundreds of thousands, if not a million or more, of Irish abroad.