Foreign workers and immigrants living in Cork city are being encouraged to register to vote and help shape the city’s future.
Lord Mayor Mick Finn launched the city council's Shape Your City: Use Your Vote initiative in Voxpro yesterday which is one of the most multi-cultural workplaces in the country.
Mr Finn said the campaign is very timely given that the city is preparing to expand its boundary for the first time in more than 50 years. He said the city will benefit from new citizens taking an active role in its development.
“What Cork City Council is doing here is making it clear that the first step in greater involvement in Cork City is registering to vote.”
Council staff will visit Voxpro’s Campus 1 headquarters in Mahon tomorrow to help those interested to register. It hopes to visit other workplaces soon.
Voxpro co-founder Linda Kiel, said the firm, which employs 5,000 people globally, has benefitted hugely from the talents of people from other countries.
The scheme aims to highlight to foreign workers and others local election voting rights and to outline the benefits of becoming active participants in civic life. Anyone over the age of 18 who is resident in Ireland for six months or more can register to vote in next May’s local elections. You must be an Irish citizen to vote in national elections or in a referendum, and you must be EU citizen to vote in European elections. About 3.5% of people on the city’s register of electors are non-Irish voters.
Minister of state for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton, said that, given that almost 12% of the population is non-Irish, the challenge now is to increase the level of migrant participation in politics.
Voxpro worker Tricia Cruz moved to Cork from Australia three years ago. She said she began looking at her voting rights during the Repeal the Eighth referendum campaign. She said the initiative has encouraged her to register to vote.
“Housing is one of the big issues,” she said. “I can see student accommodation going up so fast and I wonder how are we able to build this in like six months, yet with so many homeless people, we can’t deliver housing.”
Source: Eoin English, The Irish Examiner