The Irish Independent
Criminals may well decide the next election, said Sinead Ryan in Dublins Irish Independent. In order to comply with a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, the government is being forced to give prisoners the right to vote. In a mind-boggling decision, the court ruled last year that denying the vote is a violation of a prisoners civil rights. Isnt denying a criminal the rights that others enjoy supposed to be the point of prison? In some countries, felons cant vote even after theyve served their time. But the E.U. in its wisdom has spoken, so all 3,200 of the thieves, robbers, murderers, and rapists who make up our prison culture will be given absentee ballots for Irelands next election. Fortunately, they wont be able to sway the outcome of any particular district, as the inmates will vote in their home counties, not the counties in which they are incarcerated. Still, they might be able to make an impact on party politics. Prisoners can be expected to skew extremist and leftist, so the likes of Sinn Fein may see their vote increased. Its a bitter irony that people who scorned societys laws will be given the responsibility of choosing lawmakers.