“not quite Irish enough”

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The Irish Times today gives space to a perennial whinge.  Freelance journalist Darach MacDonald complains that, living in Northern Ireland, he is “now deemed by geography to be not quite Irish enough” to vote in the forthcoming Irish presidential election – even though he could stand, and take office if elected.

But, rather than extending the franchise, there is a more obvious solution to the apparent contradiction.

Introduce a residency requirement for the office of the President of [the Republic of] Ireland, as most some other countries do.

Including, for example, Haiti.

As an Irish passport holder living in Northern Ireland, that solution gets my vote.

Or you can just continue to pander to that political psychosis…

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  • Pod

    Or of course you could always unite the country.

    Or did you forget about that option Peadar????

  • Mark McGregor

    While you are clearly just poking with a stick, I’ll point out that either resolution would require exactly the same mechanism – a referendum. Both could easily be addressed in the same vote – I reckon your idea would have no chance of success, the other option I wouldn’t call.

  • Mark McGregor

    And, have you done the research to stand over:

    “Introduce a residency requirement for the office of the President of [the Republic of] Ireland, as most other countries do.”

    I’d assume most countries have a ‘citizenship’ requirement like Ireland not residency.

    Love to see your detailed analysis of other systems beyond the acclaimed democratic systems of International role-model Haiti.

  • Pete Baker

    Fair enough.

    To negate that particular point of criticism, I’ve edited the original post.

    Now, back to the topic…

  • Reader

    Pod: Or of course you could always unite the country.
    But that would take two referenda, at least one of which would be bound to fail. Maybe both, in the current economic circumstances. Better to stick to more realistic options.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    re. “perennial whinge”

    Pejorative phraseology aside, the boy Darach is quite right, it is an important principle.

    The logistics would be interesting setting up polling booths or perhaps postal ballots.

    Perhaps it could be a way to boost visitor numbers over the border – probably get Dunne’s Stores to pay for it.

  • Dec

    It comes to something when a thread on Slugger accuses another media outlet of ‘giving space to perennial whinges’.

  • Anon

    Wiki helpfully has done this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Requirements_for_becoming_a_president. Seems to be a mix.

    No doubt Pete will explain how the “political psychosis” that resulted in President McAleese has damaged the country.

  • John East Belfast

    “he is “now deemed by geography to be not quite Irish enough””

    No he us deemed by geography to be not quite a citizen of the Republic of Ireland enough.

    He is no less Irish than I am – he is simply someone who wants to believe the myth that Dublin somehow has sovereignty over its own affairs let alone this side of the Border.

    In the football threads – in trashing FIFAs decision – I have stated that all Northern Nationalists have as citizenship rights in relation to the ROI is an ability to be their President, hold an Irish passport and now flout FIFA’s own parentage rules and play football for the ROI football team.

    In terms of deciding their Govt they have no say whatsoever. Of course nor should they as they dont contribute to the Dublin Exchequer.

    Someone should send Mr McDonald’s letter to FIFA to point out what citizenship rights they think the GFA bestowed on 6 county nationalists that overturned their own residency and parentage rules and turned one Association against another.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    JEB,

    “Someone should send Mr McDonald’s letter to FIFA to point out what citizenship rights they think the GFA bestowed on 6 county nationalists that overturned their own residency and parentage rules and turned one Association against another”

    That is a rather a uncomfortable idea.

  • Mark McGregor

    John,

    You do just that. I’m sure FIFA will reopen the case.

    Time to get over it already.

  • Todd

    Give it 10, 15 years max and this will all be sorted out!

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mark,

    It does nicely point to the hypocricy of the Free State mentality down Dublin way.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Todd,

    really? still one year until the census.

  • Neil

    all Northern Nationalists have as citizenship rights in relation to the ROI is an ability to be their President, hold an Irish passport and now flout FIFA’s own parentage rules and play football for the ROI football team.

    Hmm. Of course you could phrase that differently and say

    All that Northern Nationalists don’t have as citizenships is the right to vote.

    Sounds a bit different as opposed to your wee list of rights we do have. Is that the only right we don’t have John?

    In the football threads – in trashing FIFAs decision

    HAHAHAHAHA. Love it John, you trashed the shit out of ‘em, they’re sleeping with the lights on they’re that terrified. Adam Barton heard about it and decided to stay away in case you took exception to his being English.

  • Mark McGregor

    IWSMNWDI

    I’ve linked the final judgement. It has nothing to do with anything other than nationality.

  • Todd

    Thats correct of course, but can they really have changed by that much in terms of pop movement etc… in 10yrs

    Also at that time some nationalists might not even vote for re-unification (oxymoron)

  • Neville Bagnall

    Citizenship is a reasonable requirement for standing for elected office. But don’t forget its not the only requirement. There is an age requirement and a nomination requirement.

    Residency is a reasonable requirement to expect in return for voting rights. In an Irish context even more so. Given the large number of non-resident citizens, granting them the vote will inevitably distort the electorate with non-resident issues.

    Now, as it happens, because our President is effectively an elected constitutional monarch with almost no powers, granting votes to all citizens in the presidential election alone would bother me very little.

    Let all Irish, anywhere in the world, down to the third generation at least have a vote in electing the President of the Nation. Oh, but don’t let anyone resident here who isn’t a citizen. After all OUR President isn’t for those foreigners.

    Yeah. Thats better.

  • Anon

    The President represents the state, so (s)he naturally represents resident aliens. However, I think citizenship is a reasonable requirement for votes on referenda and the Presidency; people should have an incentive to become citizens and in an Ireland that is becoming more multicultural it is useful to have things that connect people.

    Given the largely symbollic nature of the Presidency opening ti up in the fashion you suggest is a good thing. It helps connect not just Nordies but the whole dispora, and that is a resource that Ireland should be making more use of.

  • stewart1

    ‘In the football threads – in trashing FIFAs decision – I have stated that all Northern Nationalists have as citizenship rights in relation to the ROI is an ability to be their President, hold an Irish passport and now flout FIFA’s own parentage rules and play football for the ROI football team.’

    Speaking hypothetically, Would NI’s German goalkeeper be allowed to stand as Irish president?

  • Mark McGregor

    stewart,

    No. Under no rules current or previous. He has no connection to any part of Ireland by birth or parent – so no citizenship.

    His ability to play for the north of Ireland is due to him having an English father not any connection to Ireland.

  • Jimmy

    Conceptually I see no reason for restricting the right to stand, as opposed to the right to vote. A democrat should accept the right of the voters to choose any candidate they wish and if they deem a particular candidate to be sufficiently connected to the state I don’t see how it is the function of the constitution to tell them they can’t have their choice. If the public wanted a candidate with no Irish ties at all, why should they be barred from making that choice?

  • Cynic

    “hold an Irish passport”

    ….may I point out too that that ‘right’ was graciously granted by Her majesty and codified in a treaty – about 1937 I think – that created a common travel area

  • USA

    “Perrennial whinge” ….yep.. there goes Baker again.

    Irish people have a right to discuss and debate an issue that is close to their hearts. The issue of citizenship and voting rights is one that Dublin needs to be challanged on.

    Dublin denies Northerners the right to vote, they deny emmigrants living abroad their right to vote. Putting money into the Dublin exchequer is (to my mind at least) not a voting / citizenship requirement. These are birth rights and should be asserted. No other European country I know of denies emmigrants the right to vote. ROI should be taken to task on some of these issues and the hyprocacy of their positions highlighted. Particularly since thousands of Irish children are again leaving again due to governement and financial mis-management and a lack of opportunity. Do you just write them out of the political process, are their views and the views of Northerners not valid, are they all no longer part of the Irish Nation?

    Bollix to Dublin, if they want to create a re-united Irish state then they should engage with Northerners and emmigrants of all stripes. The best way to let them express their views of what any new Ireland will look like is to let them express it through the ballot box.

    BTW, Northerners and emmigrants do (indirectly) contribute vast sums to the Irish exchequer.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    You’d need a country first to “unite”

  • HeinzGuderian

    Yep……….“perrennial whinge” ….sums it up nicely !!! :-)

  • USA

    I really don’t think it is a “whinge”.

    Dublin cannot sit and expect changes in the Northern nationalist attitudes, changes in the position of the North within Britain, changes in Unionist attitudes toward their neighbours etc, without making changes themselves.

    They cannot wax lyrical about a utopian Ireland without engaging with all the peoples who will be part of that nation. These political goals will requre change on the part of Dublin too, the sooner they get used to making those changes the better. It’s as if they talk the talk but won’t walk the walk. Time to push out the plank i say.

    Unfortunately for those Irish kids now leaving Ireland, the US is no longer a realistic option for them given the post 9/11 immigration law changes.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    “[Maik Taylor] has no connection to any part of Ireland by birth or parent – so no citizenship.”

    Not so. He is a British citizen (albeit born in Germany) and as such he has an obvious connection to this country, of which NI is part.

    More specifically, the rule as I understand it is that British citizens born overseas can nominate any of intra-UK “countries”, including Northern Ireland, to play for – hence us nabbing Maik Taylor.

    Also: talking about “get over it already”, I can’t help noticing your tardiness in getting over events of eighty-nine years ago (your out-dated reference to the “north of Ireland” – was Maik Tailor born in Prussia then?). Clue: wishing something were the case doesn’t make it so.

  • dodrade

    The American revolutionaries said no taxation without representation, surely in this case the reverse applies.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    USA,
    “Bollix to Dublin, if they want to create a re-united Irish state then they should engage with Northerners and emmigrants of all stripes.”

    Had it occurred to you that maybe they don’t …

    Also, I’m being pedantic, but of course it wouldn’t be a “re-united Irish state”, as such a state has never existed before. An independent 32-county Irish state would be a wholly new creation.

    I have to say I find it very interesting to observe the levels of fantasy that seem to have taken hold among some (I assume) nationalists about their “Irish citizenship”. The passport thing was always a bit of a consolation prize for being on the wrong side of the border (British people in the Republic were granted the same right in reverse). But don’t mistake it for actual full political citizenship. That just has never been the deal. If Ulster nationalists want that, they need to go back to the negotiating table and try and persuade others of the case for it. Tough argument I’d say.

    If you know of that working in any other ethnically mixed regions around the world, I’d be interested, but seems unworkable to me. Worse, isn’t the whole idea just running away again from the reality of cross-community politics in Northern Ireland?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Wouldn’t Ireland do?

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Not a country

  • The Third Policeman

    Pete my man this ‘political psychosis’ lark really has to stop. It’s totally out of place. I assume by ‘psychosis’ you’re suggesting that a lot of republicans are suffering from delusions of what the name of the state is etc. Buuuut as any good medical student worth his psych attachment will be able to tell you a delusion is a ‘fixed, false belief not inkeeping with social or cultural norms.‘ So we don’t consider religion or ghosts or superstitions to be delusions because our culture accepts them as normal. Similarly with republicanism, their culture accepts these beliefs to be the norm. But don’t worry, there’s whole textbooks of other psych definitions to describe our political leaders!

  • Alias

    One point that is overlooked in this debate is that citizens of NI are promoting the economic interests of the British state which is a competitor state to the Irish state, so while we might assume that non-resident Irish nationals elsewhere who might vote in Irish elections would do so to promote Irish national interests we know that the Northern Irish would abuse the privilege by using it to promote the British national interests of the British state wherein they reside and pay their taxes at the direct expense of the national interests of the state in which they would be voting.

    You can see which state they are actually loyal to when issues such as cross-border shopping arise or when the Shinner minister in Stormont threatened to take the Irish state to the ECJ if preferred to buy agricultural produce that benefitted the Irish economy in Ireland as opposed to buying that agricultural produce in a foreign jurisdiction where its purchase would benefit the economy of the United Kingdom at the direct expense of the Irish economy.

    For that reason alone they shouldn’t be given any further concessions. However, if they agree to pay their taxes to this state in addition to any taxes they owe to the sovereign state wherein they reside then it might be worth taking a gamble if the extra tax revenue outweighed the risk of their systemic treason to Irish economic interests. However, as their core dynamic is to get something for thing, I suspect that they will very quickly drop the demand for voting rights if those rights carried the responsibility of taxes.

  • Alias

    Actually, given that we’d end up with a tout like Gerry Adams for president if the Northern Irish had voting rights, I think I’ve gone off the idea even if those voting rights came with tax obligations…

  • Tochais Siorai

    Hi MU. I’m being pedantic too here but technically you’re incorrect. The Irish delegates at the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 negotiated on behalf of the country (as in 32 counties). The treaty alllowed the NI parliament to secede from the new Irish Free State which they did a couple of days later.

  • JM

    When you see how the tricolour is ‘respected’ around the 12th of July in Northern Ireland, the Irish State would want to be pretty dumb to allow anyone born in NI with an Irish passport to vote in ROI elections. I suspect NI nationalists know that as well. I’m surprised that Darach MacDonald wouldn’t know that … but then he was born and grew up in the Republic.

  • Ulick

    Erm… “anyone born in NI with an Irish passport” can vote in ROI elections so longer as they are on the Register. Just like any other citizen. In fact you don’t even need to be an Irish passport holder to vote in some elections.

  • JM

    Ulick – my point is that the Irish state should be careful about who they allow to vote for its President. Only those who we know have the best interests & respect for the Irish State and its people should have a vote.

  • Tochais Siorai

    I don’t think too many of those who burn the tricolour on J12
    will be queuing up to get Irish passports so they can vote in presidential elections to be honest.

  • Cushy Glenn

    shome mishtake shurely- Her Maj would only have been 10. Perhaps it was the late King Emperor you were thinking of. Gawd bless him

  • Cushy Glenn

    … frankly I think that’s a tight time frame for the 26 strays to get their house in financial order before coming back to the Union

  • Mike

    Quite, MU.

    “Ability to play for the north of Ireland” – to do that he’d need a time machine and an interest in cricket or rugby.

    PS – FIFA have closed the loophole on British citizens born outside the UK. They must have a birth/residence/ancestry connection with the territory of the particular British association concerned.

  • Rory Carr

    “If the public wanted a candidate with no Irish ties at all, why should they be barred from making that choice?” asks Jimmy, perhaps not unreasonably.

    I suspect that the answer is that inviting or accepting foreigners as head of state is really regarded as quite an English custom and we Irish wouldn’t want to be seen getting in on their game uninvited. You know the English record- Norman French, Welsh, Scots, German, Dutch, whatever, they don’t really seem all that fussy and certainly, ever since their attempt at a republic ended, they seem satisfied with any old Johnny just so long as he minds his p’s and q’s and does the bidding of of those with the real power – the haute bourgeoisie.

    I expect that one day they will simply replace the monarch with that nodding dog character, Churchill from the insurance advertisments – he is quite popular and no one will much notice the difference.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Well being even more pedantic, they couldn’t negotiate on behalf of Ireland as a “country” as such, as it wasn’t one, except in the parochial intra-British Isles meaning of the word.

    And on the earlier point, like a lot of attempted pedantry, it isn’t quite as accurate as it sounds. The “secession” of Northern Ireland from the Irish Free State was what is known as a “legal fiction” – i.e. a technicality that existed only for a scintilla of time (or here a couple of days) to fulfil the mechanics of the 26 counties’ secession from the UK, but no more than that. It happens also with property law for example with probate, where property will technically pass through a dead relative’s hands before vesting in the beneficiary. It’s of no significance other than to lawyers and even then quite boring (a bored ex-lawyer speaks).

    To say this paper entity amounted to a 32 county Irish state would not be an accurate statement; it is better characterised as a bit of admin.

  • the old Manxman

    What about Brits resident in the RoI being able to vote for president, Dail, whatever? After all their Irish counterparts in the UK can vote there and have been able to do so since the Twenties.

    Never mind nationality, once someone is committed enough to a place by living there, surely the right to vote should be determined in the same way as in other cross-border agreements – by reciprocity

  • USA

    1937?, sure she didn’t become queen till around 1952. I guess that puts an end to your ill informed petty point scoring.

  • USA

    Alias, that is such ill informed utter trash talk it does not even warrant a considered response.

  • JH

    Jesus

    What harm is it to Unionists really if people of the North are allowed to vote for the office of President? If you choose to exclude yourself from the Irish nation then what do you care about how we elect our President.

    President McAleese has been a fantastic President. That’s due, in no small part, to where she was born and raised. Why should the South be deprived of that because she was born in the North? Let’s face it, she was unlikely to ever make it to head of State or Government in the anti-Catholic, anti-Female environment here.

    Mr Baker should go back to writing about the contradiction between Gerry Adams’ lunch and his Republican credentials, or whoever his Sinn Féin mark is these days.

  • Alias

    It isn’t that it is harm to unionists. It is harmful to Irish people that those who are not resident in their state, do not pay taxes to their state, and are not economically loyal to their state should determine the affairs of their state.

  • Alias

    Incidentally, McAleese was been an utter disgrace as president. She turned the Áras an Uachtaráin is a social club for the drug-pushers, pimps, and sectarian murderers than your hubby plays golf with.

  • Alias

    Err, sans typos:

    Incidentally, McAleese was been an utter disgrace as president. She turned Áras an Uachtaráin into a social club for the drug-pushers, pimps, and sectarian murderers that her hubby plays golf with.

  • Republic of Connaught

    So everything else she has done well during her presidency is forgotten, says Alias, because she held out the hand of friendship to unsavoury Loyalists. Mmmm

    The Irish presidency is about symbolism, not power. So the nationalists of the north of Ireland should obviously have a vote as to who the president of their nation is.

  • http://openunionism.wordpress.com/ st etienne

    Unable to call a referendum that asks the RoI electorate to vote on allowing 100k+ votes for the Shinner candidate in their presidential elections?

    Aye.

  • http://openunionism.wordpress.com/ st etienne

    actually Neil as well as voting they also cannot be taxed nor claim welfare from the RoI.

    Or at least, aren’t supposed to…

  • http://openunionism.wordpress.com/ st etienne

    It’s a perennial whinge though. It’s not meant to stand up to scrutiny

  • http://openunionism.wordpress.com/ st etienne

    Nothing qualifies as psychosis with that definition.

    That it affects an entire political body makes it no less an affliction.

  • http://openunionism.wordpress.com/ st etienne

    unless they live in Northern Ireland Ulick…

  • http://openunionism.wordpress.com/ st etienne

    so this all-ireland malarkey has been reduced to symbolism now?

  • William Markfelt

    ‘His ability to play for the north of Ireland is due to him having an English father not any connection to Ireland.’

    Not true. His ‘German’ mother was indeed born and brought up in Germany, the daughter of a German father and (Northern) Irish mother. An Irish granny, in other words, and County Tyrone specifically. Half-German. So by the time we get to Taylor (product of a half-German, half Irish mother and English father) he’s at best quarter German. About the right amount of German blood to ascend to the throne, in other words.

    Having been born abroad, his British passport entitled him to choose any of the four home nations as his nationality, but chose NI because of familial linkage and, realistically, the unlikelihood of being selected for England.

    But we shouldn’t really allow mere facts to get in the way of Slugger’s persistent footballing ignorance. Thank fuck none of you ever go as far as analysing a match (but it might be amusing to read).

  • http://andrewg.wordpress.com Andrew Gallagher

    There is no such thing as the President of the nation. The President is employed by the State.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Republic of Connaught,
    “nationalists of the north of Ireland should obviously have a vote as to who the president of their nation is”

    1. They don’t have a President, they have a Prime Minister, as they live in the UK.
    2. What century is this? The area you refer to as “the north of Ireland” (sic) has been called Northern Ireland for almost 90 years. You need to get some younger friends. Even the Rep of I government which railed against Northern Ireland for so long recognised it formally in 1921, 1925, whenever the Treaty of Helsinki was signed (1950s?), 1985 and 1998. Do you know something they don’t?
    3. There is a difference between nations in the ethnic sense and nations in the political sense. You mean it in the former sense, as they are a member of the Irish Catholic ethnie. But that doesn’t come with full political rights, otherwise ethnic Germans living in Romania would be voting on the German presidency and Mexican Americans on the Mexican presidency. It’s just not how it works I’m afraid.

  • John East Belfast

    Alias is correct in pointing out that giving voting rights to northern nationalists is not in the interests of the ROI.

    Firstly northern nationalists have a tendency to vote Sinn Fein – something which is out of step from what I can see with the rest of nationalist Ireland. Hence McAleese’s invites to her husband’s loyalist golfing buddies is nothing to having Gerry Adams as your President.

    Secondly if you are giving votes to northern nationalists then I will want mine too. Therefore do you really want a northern unionist with no real interest in your country and who’s real loyalty lies elsewhere deciding your Head of State – infact in many cases there will be some with a desire to make mischief.
    It would be difficult for us not to give you Gerry Adams as President so that you too can get to know what it feels like.

    Therefore the majority of the northern vote would go to Sinn Fein’s choice

  • Pete Baker

    Here’s a better explanation of psychosis.

    A person who experiences psychosis may be unable to distinguish between reality and their imagination. [added emphasis]

    People who are experiencing psychosis are sometimes referred to as psychotic. They may have:

    •hallucinations – where you see or hear things that are not there
    •delusions – where you believe things that are untrue