On the 18th of July a calamity happened, or so the immigration lawyers would have you believe. Mr Justice Max Barrett, in a landmark High Court ruling, held that the Minister for Justice could not offer exemptions to a clause which required those seeking to acquire Irish citizenship be resident in the State for a “continuous” period of one year.
In order to fully appreciate this victory in the Courts for those of us who are sceptical of mass migration, let me take you back to the beginning.
On the 11th of June 2004, the Irish people voted overwhelmingly to end “birth-right citizenship” (that is, to acquire citizenship simply by being born on the island of Ireland,regardless of circumstances).
This transition from Jus Soli (“right of land,” or birth-right citizenship) had long lost favour throughout the Western world (only the United States operates such a system today). What we chose to implement in its stead was Jus Sanguinis (“right of blood,” or citizenship-by-descent), whereby those with at least one Irish grandparent would be entitled to acquire Irish citizenship.
The legislation also allowed for “naturalisation” of foreign citizens (making them Irish citizens), and was filled with broad and lax “restrictions.
The requirements to acquire Irish citizenship includes satisfying the following conditions:
- You’re over the age of 18.
- You meet the residence requirement (that is, you’ve had to live 5 of the last 9 years in Ireland, with at least one year continuous residence in the year before you make the application).
- You intend to continue living in the State
- You are of good character
- You attend a citizenship ceremony and make a declaration of fidelity or loyalty to the State.
No Irish or English language requirement, no civic history to be learned, no specific act to prove your fidelity. Just live here, keep your nose out of trouble, and hey presto, you’re an Irish citizen.
Now, what’s the big hullabaloo about? Well, the requirement to have “one year’s continuous residence immediately before the application” is what has thrown a spanner in the works.
The Minister for Justice had previously allowed individuals seeking naturalisation to leave the country for up to 6 weeks in the year before their application.
Nowhere in the legislation was he given this power, and he was deemed to be acting ultra vires (outside of his authority). That’s it. When this was pointed out, the media circus and the chattering classes kicked themselves into a frenzy.
“Barbaric,” some immigration lawyers said. “It’s like a prison sentence,” a certain immigrant said on Twitter. How dare the State intrude upon the pay packets of immigration lawyers and activists.
Citizenship is the highest honour our country can bestow upon people, and we’re told we’re being cruel by asking them to simply live in the country for an unbroken year.
I have quite often spent more than a year without going abroad, indeed when I was young, we only went on holiday every three or four years. I didn’t think this was a prison sentence, or cruel. But maybe that’s because I love my country.
Forgive me for saying this, but if you can’t even live in the country for one year without going abroad, one year without going home – how can we expect you to live up to your fidelity to the Nation? Why should we give you the greatest gift in our possession?
Maybe, if you don’t like it, you should just go somewhere else, and leave our beautiful island to us? Feel free to take the gombeen immigration lawyers with you, we won’t miss them.
To say you love your country because you stayed here
continuosly is rather a poor reasoning and biased with out considering the realities. It is your home and you may not need to leave your country unless you born in a poor Irish family, like thousands of Irish immigrants living in many countries. If immigrants have some serious problems at home they will need to go. It has nothing to do with the loyalty to the country. Many Irish are living in USA illegally. Why are you not saying them to love Ireland and come and share your ‘lovely country’? Your problem is you got rich and don’t want to share it with others. Plainly, combination of selfishness and arrogance behind your article. Are you claiming you are good Christians too? Remember that you will may not stay rich always.
Good article, I presume the first sentence was meant to be the “On the 18th of July” and not August. As for acquiring citizenship, I see no reason a simple exam based on the CSPE exam should not be required of applicants.
Eoin Corcoran is a hypocrite, who doesn’t say anything about how Irish are migrating to many countries for better life and some living illegally in other countries. Hey Eoin invite your fellow country men to come and enjoy the ‘lovely country’. You cowardly deleted previous comment. Your reasoning of your argument in this is false and illogical.
“How dare the State intrude upon the pay packets of immigration lawyers and activists.” Immigration law is not a very lucrative area of law to choose to practice in. Many lawyers work pro bono and most activists receive nothing. Also, increasing restrictions would increase the case load. For all your ranting about freedom of speech for Nazi youtube channels, you have a very poor grasp on the concept of fair representation and equality of arms. You clearly don’t know very much about law.
Barry Andrews wife received € 1 million last yr from the state for her work as a pro immigration lawyer. Get your facts correct.