Changes to citizenship laws
Published in The Sunday Business Post
Sunday, December 24, 2006 -
Under Irish nationality law created in 1956, anyone with a great-grandparent, grandparent or parent who was from Ireland was eligible for citizenship by descent.
However, the law was changed in 1984 and members of the Irish diaspora whose closest link to Ireland was a great-grandparent no longer qualified for citizenship by descent.
As the years go by, fewer and fewer members of the Irish diaspora will have grandparents who were born in Ireland.
Today, the Republic of Ireland is allowing huge numbers of foreigners to come to Ireland, but current citizenship by descent laws are keeping Irish people out of their homeland. But why should someone from Poland be able to show up in Ireland tomorrow and start working and living there instantly, yet an Irish person from the US doing the same would be an illegal immigrant, subject to arrest and deportation?
I propose that the law be reverted to allow citizenship by descent to be claimed by those with an Irish great-grandparent and that the Irish government explore the possibility of extending citizenship to all people with Irish ancestry.
I have lots of Irish ancestors, but my closest link to Ireland is my great-grandmother who came to the US as a child. Until the law is changed, I will not be able to obtain Irish citizenship.
Eric Hafner, New Jersey, US.