HL Deb 16 December 1982 vol 437 cc834-5WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether residents of Northern Ireland who request and are issued with passports of the Republic of Ireland, have up to now incurred, or will in future incur, any civil disability as a result; and in particular whether such passport holders have been and will be in future entitled to vote in local government, Assembly and parliamentary elections in exactly the same way as holders of British passports.

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (The Earl of Gowrie)

The possession of a passport of the Republic of Ireland by a resident of Northern Ireland does not incur any civil disability for that person or affect his right to vote. The franchise in Northern Ireland for local and Assembly elections is confined to persons born in Northern Ireland or who have been continuously resident in the United Kingdom for the previous seven years, provided that they are British subjects or were on the Northern Ireland register of electors in 1962 and have resided in Northern Ireland for the three months preceding the qualifying date. The holding of a passport of the Republic of Ireland by any such persons would not affect their entitlement to vote. So far as the franchise used at parliamentary general elections is concerned, that is the same in Northern Ireland as in Great Britain except that the residence requirement for electoral registration in Northern Ireland is specified in legislation as being three months continuous residence preceding the qualifying date. These arrangements are an expression of the policy followed by successive Governments not to penalise those holding dual nationality.