Latest figures suggest there are 3.1 million Irish passport holders, and 800,000 Irish-born citizens living overseas. Most recent figures from the Central Statistics Office show that 27,600 Irish people have emigrated in the twelve months up to April 2010
Ireland prides itself on its Diaspora but its emigrants are one of the few nationalities who do not retain the right to vote when they move away. There are a few exceptions to this rule
If you are an Irish citizen living abroad you cannot be entered on the Register of electors. This means that you cannot vote in an election or referendum here in Ireland. (The only exception to this is in the case of Irish officials on duty abroad (and their spouses) who may register on the postal voters list).
As recently as 2002 the issue was revisited and current Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin referred to it in a Jan 2010 answer to a question from Finian McGrath TD