Michelle O’Neill said: “The extension of voting rights to all Irish citizens in presidential elections would be a natural outworking of the Good Friday agreement, which enshrines the right of the people of the North to Irish citizenship.
“Sinn Féin has actively campaigned for many years for a referendum to be held to extend voting rights in presidential elections to Irish citizens in the North, and separately to include the Irish diaspora abroad.
“We successfully lobbied the Irish Government to include this important matter for consideration as part of the Constitutional Convention back in 2013, and were pleased that over 70% of members voted in favour of recommending to the Government the holding of a referendum to extend such rights.
“I welcome the cabinet decision that the Government is drafting legislation to facilitate a referendum this autumn.
“It’s long past time this referendum was held, and it is very important that it is won come Election Day.
“Sinn Féin will continue to work with all other parties across the island, the diaspora organisations abroad and Irish civil society to campaign and win these hugely important rights in the weeks and months ahead.”