Scots Universities Helped Irish Voters Travel Home
Scottish universities provided financial aid to Irish students to return home to vote in their country’s historic abortion referendum.
Backed by the National Union of Students, the University of Strathclyde and Edinburgh University gave funds of up to £110 to students to help with travel costs.
The idea came as part of the #Home2V8te campaign which aimed to help Irish citizens abroad to be able to vote.
The movement was created as under Irish electoral law, Irish citizens living outside of the country are excluded from voting.
Edinburgh University helped almost 30 students travel home to take part and their Vice President of Education, Bobi Archer, said she believes it was imperative they did so.
She said: “It was important that students were able to exercise their democratic rights, and we know that for many students a journey home is not something they can easily afford, particularly as we come to the end of the academic year.
“Our Student Council also provided funding for materials informing students about the referendum and these were distributed by student volunteers on our campus over the past couple of weeks.”
Irish citizens that had been abroad for less than 18 months but intended to return within that timeframe were permitted to vote but had to return to their home constituency to do so.
On Friday, the student’s backed by their student unions, joined over 2.1 million people who visited polling stations across Ireland.
The result saw the abortion ban overwhelmingly overturned as 66.4% voted to repeal it with Donegal the only constituency to vote in favour of keeping the law.
Taylor Wong Vice President of Diversity at the University of Strathclyde echoed Archer’s comments whilst adding that there were also feminist issues at stake.
She said: “Students unions have always been the supporters of democracy and fair representation. Knowing that a country prevents people from making free choices is unacceptable for advocates of women’’ rights.
“We are in solidarity with anyone who could not freely access health and medical care and hoping to see new changes tomorrow.”