A campaign group is planning to write an open letter to Ryanair, urging the airline to provide special discounted flights to Ireland ahead of the equality referendum on May 22.
The Get The Boat 2 Vote campaign, which is attempting to organise a mass return of eligible voters for referendum, says: "The youth vote has been described as critical to success for Yes on May 22nd, and research shows that the majority of recent emigration has seen citizens leave the country in their 20s."
"Ryanair have helped transport thousands of young emigrants to new homes in far-flung places in recent years. We're now asking you to assist in bringing these young people home."
Here's the letter in full:
— Get The Boat 2 Vote (@hometovote) March 31, 2015
Campaign founder Joey Kavanagh says:
“Originally a lot of us planned traveling home by ferry, but the campaign has grown and, for many of the people we have been in contact with, flying home is the only option if they wish to vote. With this in mind, we are appealing to Ryanair to assist these individuals in having a say in Irish democracy by offering discount fares on flights to Irish airports in the run-up to the referendum.”
When it comes to providing votes for expats, we're very much in the minority here; more than 120 countries across the globe have systems in place to facilitate expat votes, while Ireland is one of only three EU countries (along with Cyprus and Malta) that don't allow overseas voting.
With that in mind, and given Ryanair's flair for generating the right kind of publicity at the right time, we wouldn't be at all surprised if something is worked out here.