In February, this publication reported on the legal precedent set at the Supreme Court whereby the Algerian-born jihadist Ali Charaf Damache managed to successfully challenge the manner by which the Irish State revokes citizenship, thus blowing a considerable hole in our already threadbare citizenship regime.
Damache a naturalised Irish citizen by way of France, where he was raised, attained citizenship in 2008 prior to his marriage here to fellow Islamist Jamie Paulin Ramirez, famously dubbed “Jihad Jamie”. In 2010 he was arrested in a foiled plot to murder the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, for which he is serving a 15-year sentence for terrorism related offences in America.
In a nutshell the Irish court ruled that the present procedure for nullifying citizenship wasn’t robust enough under the terms of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, arguing the need for an independent body to act as a safeguard to the process. The ramifications are that the Irish State, and in particular the Minister for Justice whose purview the matter falls under, have yet another barrier in their way for revoking citizenship to those who pose a potential risk to the State.
The case has implications for the wider citizenship regime, as well as the current myriad of jihadists in possession of Irish citizenship, and thus a right to return to Ireland unimpeded.
Rather ironically for a convicted Islamist, Damache had representation from one of Ireland’s more progressive legal bodies in the form of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, and his counsel Sunniva McDonagh.
Formed in 2014, the IHREC is a state sponsored human rights body funded to the tune of €6.6 million per annum, according to figures stated in the Oireachtas in 2018. Under a Freedom of Information request, The Burkean was able to ascertain that just over €38,000 in funds had been dispersed by the body to assist Mr Damache in his legal escapades. The role played by the IHREC for the case was as amicus curiae, arguing in favour of Damache’s claim that the procedure to the nullifying of citizenship lacked the proper legal robustness.
Alongside the funds issued to the Damache case, a total of €286,439 in monies had also been dispensed by the human rights body since 2016 to fight a variety of sometimes landmark migration and asylum cases.
Among the cases fought with the IHREC’s money to the tune of €59,000, was Luximon vs the Minister for Justice in 2018, involving 3 non-EEA students resident in Ireland for 11 years under student visas. The ruling entailed that the Department take into account the personal circumstances of those resident in the country for extended periods of time and the fact Ireland was de facto their home country as a consequence.
While in a free society the right to appeal is an essential cornerstone examining the financial payments made by the IHREC one is more inclined to think of it as a cash cow for the open borders lobby. The ruling regarding Damache is undoubtedly made worse by the extent it undercuts both the State’s citizenship process and fundamental duty to protect the state from potential threats.
Opponents to the country’s rolling asylum and migration debacles will perhaps find no greater foes than than the IHREC embodying the scale of entrenched power on the side of the open borders lobby. No better representation can there be for the fusion of open borders legal activism and state power than the group itself with ultimately the national coffers left worse for wear.