Solicitor ruled out on nationality grounds

Maggie O’Conor, a Dublin born solicitor has applied for a judicial review of a decision by the Department of Finance and Personnel to withdraw an invitation to interview her for the post of legal assistant. The position had been designated a “public service post” requiring UK nationality.

  • willowfield

    I recall this issue being raised before.

    By European agreement, governments are permitted to restrict government employment to their own nationals. Same applies to the ROI, France or wherever as it does to the UK.

  • maca

    It’s fair enough but she has been living in the North for 25 years, they could relax he rules a bit.

  • smcgiff

    ‘It’s fair enough but she has been living in the North for 25 years, they could relax he rules a bit.’

    If she wants it that bad, couldn’t she apply for UK citizenship? She’d surely qualify after 25 years.

  • maca

    “If she wants it that bad, couldn’t she apply for UK citizenship?”

    Sure.
    But they could still could relax the rules to include

  • smcgiff

    ‘But they could still could relax the rules to include

  • Davros

    “Friendship and Goodwill”

    Guess who still believes in Santa Claus ? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    (Sorry!)

  • maca

    “Guess who still believes in Santa Claus”

    Hey i’ve seen Santa!!! I don’t live so far from him either ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Non-believers! Tsk!

  • peteb

    “Hey i’ve seen Santa!!! I don’t live so far from him either”

    Not to mention getting some extra cash helping out in his toy workshop, maca ;o)

  • maca

    “Not to mention getting some extra cash helping out in his toy workshop”

    No, ya have to be a Finnish national to work there.

  • peteb

    and a height restriction ;o)

  • smcgiff

    “Hey i’ve seen Santa!!! I don’t live so far from him either”

    There goes the neighbourhood!!

  • maca

    “and a height restriction”

    That’s not a problem for me.
    Anyway after that incident with the reindeer they won’t let me near the place. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Davros

    What Have I started here ? LOL

  • Davros

    Maca, next time you see him , tell him I want the Latest Brendan Kennelly for Christmas!

  • maca

    Anyway back to Maggie’s predicament…

  • maca

    “next time you see him , tell him I want the Latest Brendan Kennelly for Christmas!”

    Will do, although my Finnish is so bad don’t be surprised if you get a pair of socks instead.

  • Davros

    But Maca, surely he speaks Irish ?

    “I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s Farm no more ” is about to play ๐Ÿ™‚ Hard to beat Bob Dylan!

  • maca

    “But Maca, surely he speaks Irish?”

    You’re being silly now Davros ;))

  • Davros

    LOL !

  • David Vance

    For a rather more radical take on this – I suggest Sluggerettes visit Andrew McCann’s take over at A TANGLED WEB!

  • Davros

    I didn’t notice anything about Santa speaking Irish when I was there a couple of minutes ago …Just Andrew being a tad hypocritical about Mrs Kerry because she used the word “scumbag” …

  • Davros

    was meant to be a ๐Ÿ˜‰ after that post David , nothing personal Andy !

  • Rebecca Black

    Fair enough I reckon, there are alot of jobs in Ireland I wouldn’t be allowed to because I don’t speak Irish. eg. garda, army, civil service, teaching.

    Each different country have their own specifications for some jobs, c’est la vie

  • Fraggle

    I was born in NI but I have always had Irish citizenship (due to my grandfather). would I be entitled to apply for this sort of job?

    if the appeal is unsuccessful then the law should be changed with regard to NI.

  • Fraggle

    rebecca, you could get those jobs with the aid of a simple educational course, not changing your nationality. big difference.

  • Fraggle

    and the irish language qualification isn’t necessary to get a job as a teacher, you just have to sign up for the course once you get the job.

  • Rebecca Black

    to pass an interview in Irish I am sure it would take more than a simple course in Irish.

    At one point I was interested in joining the gardai but because I cannot, I have to move back to the UK after I finish my degree. Making people speak Irish to get certain jobs is completely ridiculous and to be perfectly honest its not something I’d be prepared to do, and I am sure alot of other people feel the same way. Its a system to keep Irish people in Irish jobs.

  • Fraggle

    maybe for the guards an interview in irish is necessary (I don’t know if it is or not) but you mentioned teaching and it isn’t a prerequesite for that.

  • Fraggle

    but my point is that you are not ruled out completly from these jobs. you don’t want to learn irish but you COULD so you COULD get those jobs. there is a huge difference.

  • Davros

    Been a lot of fuss about Teaching Fraggle – bad example – Sure, do the course but passing the exam is a different matter – one Teacher with a degree in Irish -Honours Graduate – failed the test .

  • Fraggle

    should he really be teaching then?

  • Rebecca Black

    “maybe for the guards an interview in irish is necessary (I don’t know if it is or not) but you mentioned teaching and it isn’t a prerequesite for that.”

    it definitely is for the gardai, I have a friend who is in the gardai and he told me. And I am fairly sure that you do need to pass an interview in Irish for teaching.

    “you COULD so you COULD get those jobs. there is a huge difference.”

    its the principle of the thing. Besides I am sure someone trained in the legal profession would probably know how to gain British citizenship, as maca commented above, she has been living here for 25 years, she would qualify to apply for it.

    Maybe its a point of principle with her too, she COULD get the job if she wanted to.

  • Davros

    Fraggle … he ?

  • Davros

    Annette Sweeney

    Annette Sweeney studied in Maynooth where she got a BA Honours in Irish. Annette then moved to Wales where she was awarded her PGC in Wales. She taught abroad for a year and then began teaching in Corduff National School in Dublin.
    Annette sat the SCG for the first time last Easter and was shocked when she failed one of the papers. She feels that the standards for the exam are set too high. Annette has just resat the exam and is now waiting the results. She feels that the exam has no relevance to how primary school Irish is taught in the schools.

    Annette knows a lot of teachers who feel the same way about the exam and believe that the Department refuse to acknowledge their situation. For Annette it is now a case of waiting for results before she can proceed further in her career.

  • Fraggle

    sorry annette and davros. I thought about that just after i hit the send button.

    rebecca, if you can’t see the difference between changing your nationality and learning a language to pass a test then I give up. I would like to know if someone like me, an irish citizen but born in the north, would be prevented from getting this job because of my irish citizenship. if so, then something is wrong and the law needs changed to reflect the special relationship between northern ireland and the republic of ireland. if not, then why does maggie need british citizenship when irish citizenship is ok for someone born up here.

  • Davros

    Not a problem Fraggle ๐Ÿ™‚

    I guess we are back to this – reality has less power than perception of reality. My community perceive this as something which excludes us – and to some extent believe that it was meant to exclude us – and it is that perception which is important.

  • Rebecca Black

    fraggle

    if Ireland was a country in which I actually needed to speak Irish to communicate with people then I wouldn’t mind but there again if it was by this point I would probably be fluent in Irish.

    These artificial attempts to give to Irish another lease of life seem to me fairly annoying.

  • maca

    Two things about the Irish language issue.

    1. The Irish test for teaching is a difficult issue. I am not sure if the test is too hard or not, maybe the issue is more to do with lack of knowledge of the requirements, no text books, no curriculum etc etc Certainly it needs to be closely looked at.

    2. Should Irish still be a requirement in these kinds of jobs? Yes I think so because the government is committed to providing services in Irish when needed. Although most of the time it’s not needed (except in teaching and jobs in the Gaeltachts) it still needs to be available where possible, IMHO.

  • Fraggle

    Rebecca, you are avoiding the point. Excluding an irish citizen from a public position in the north, especially when people from here are legally entitled to hold that same citizenship rather than british citizenship, is wrong and i hope that the ruling is overturned. it is a different issue entirely to having to learn irish for certain jobs. I might even agree with your point of view that it is unnecessary but as maca says, the government is committed to ar teanga.

  • smcgiff

    If you yourself are not teaching it then Irish should not be a pre-requisite for a teaching job.

    Fraggle/Maca

    Currently it

  • maca

    “If you yourself are not teaching it then Irish should not be a pre-requisite for a teaching job.”

    In primary education all teachers teach Irish … I THINK.

  • Davros

    Good post smcgiff.

  • smcgiff

    ‘In primary education all teachers teach Irish … I THINK.’

    Yip, but the majority of teachers teach in secondary/third level.

  • maca

    “but the majority of teachers teach in secondary/third level.”

    In the case of secondary level it is pointless unless you teach Irish as you said.
    Thrid level … is it required? I doubt it, considering the number of non-Irish lecturers I had in college.

  • smcgiff

    Maca,

    AFAIK, if you’re Irish (If you’re not Irish you’re exempt) you need it to become a permanent lecturer. Maybe it’s changed. It would be great if it had.

  • maca

    But if you’re Irish you likely have it anyway, I doubt the standard required is too high, pass leaving cert for example.
    If you’re Irish and from the North would you also be exempt?

  • Davros

    I don

  • maca

    Thanks for the article Davros.
    Perhaps they need to rethink the system. They could have dedicated Irish teachers in schools then lower the requirements in Irish for other teachers.

    It’s also important to try to maintain high standards of education in Irish. You can’t just make tests easier, it’s a bad approach in my opinion.

  • smcgiff

    ‘I doubt the standard required is too high, pass leaving cert for example.’

    Ahem, Too high for some! ๐Ÿ™ But foreign languages were never my strong point! ๐Ÿ™‚

    ‘It’s also important to try to maintain high standards of education in Irish. You can’t just make tests easier, it’s a bad approach in my opinion.’

    I agree. If you teach it, you should have a high standard.

  • maca

    “Too high for some”

    But you didn’t have it in school did you?

  • Davros

    Part of the problem seems to have been with the test itself – complaints that it wasn’t possible to prepare properly for it etc.

  • smcgiff

    ‘But you didn’t have it in school did you?’

    Being raised in North Cork (admittedly not the Gaeltacht, but not NI either) I

  • maca

    “Being raised in North Cork..”
    For some reason I thought you were from the other end of the island.

    I think Sharon Ni Bheolain has inspired many an Irish gosson to tune into TG4. I’d say viewers dropped when she left ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Davros

    A link to a picture would be appreciated Maca ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • maca
  • Davros

    Do I Have to choose ? First come, first served
    Sharon and Gr

  • maca

    A special one for you Davros.

  • willowfield

    Fraggle

    I was born in NI but I have always had Irish citizenship (due to my grandfather). would I be entitled to apply for this sort of job?

    If you were born in NI, then you

  • Davros

    She’s a “lovely girl” (Father Ted)

  • Fraggle

    I’m an irish citizen willowfield and not because of the GFA. I’ve always travelled on an Irish passport. I choose not to have dual citizenship. I chose Irish citizenship due to ancestry. Now, due to the GFA, we (those born in NI) are all entitled to choose irish citizenship. Presumably, those that choose to be irish rather than british would not prevented from getting this kind of job. why then should an irish person born in the south be so prevented when that person already holds one of the two legally recognised citizenships in NI.

    To sum up, an Irish citizen born in the north would be able get the job without choosing british citizenship (I am assuming) but for an irish person born in the south, they would have to naturalize as a british person to get the same job.

    It seems to be a legal anomoly. we will just have to wait to see how it plays itself out i think. anyone here familiar with the actual laws involved?

  • smcgiff

    ‘A special one for you Davros.’

    Stay away from the Dark Side, Davros!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • willowfield

    Fraggle

    I’m an irish citizen willowfield and not because of the GFA. I’ve always travelled on an Irish passport.

    Congratulations.

    I choose not to have dual citizenship.

    If you were born in NI, you do not have such a choice. You’re either a UK citizen or you have dual citizenship. You can’t only be a ROI citizen.

    Presumably, those that choose to be irish rather than british would not prevented from getting this kind of job.

    You can’t choose to be (Southern) Irish rather than British; only in addition to being British.

    why then should an irish person born in the south be so prevented when that person already holds one of the two legally recognised citizenships in NI.

    Because you need to be a UK citizen. ROI citizenship is irrelevant.

    To sum up, an Irish citizen born in the north would be able get the job without choosing british citizenship (I am assuming) but for an irish person born in the south, they would have to naturalize as a british person to get the same job.

    An Irish citizen born in NI would already be a UK citizen. One born in ROI would not.

    It seems to be a legal anomoly.

    There is no anomaly. It is quite clear.

  • Fraggle

    ok willowfield, I think I got your point the first of the four times you made it.

    are you quite certain on this citizenship stuff from a legal point of view? I’m genuinely interested quite apart from this particular case we’re discussing.

  • Fraggle

    from the agreement

    “(vi) recognise the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both, as they may so choose, and accordingly confirm that their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship is accepted by both Governments and would not be affected by any future change in the status of Northern Ireland.”

    this is a legally binding treaty is it not?

    it says irish or british, or both. to me, that means that I am entitled, through the agreement to be irish and not british if I so choose. prove me wrong

  • willowfield

    Fraggle

    are you quite certain on this citizenship stuff from a legal point of view?

    Yes.

    As for the Agreement, it “recognises the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both, as they may so choose …”

    This is meaningless twaddle. We already had the right to identify ourselves as whatever we want. We didn’t need an Agreement to grant such a “right”. Total nonsense. As for the right to “be accepted”, that is meaningless: if I choose not to accept that someone is Irish or British there is nothing your nor anyone else can do about it. Indeed, my “right” to be accepted as Irish has been denied many times on this very site by those who claim Irishness and Britishness are mutually exclusive!

    Further, the Agreement “confirms that their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship is accepted by both Governments and would not be affected by any future change in the status of Northern Ireland.”

    It does not say British or Irish citizenship.

    it says irish or british, or both. to me, that means that I am entitled, through the agreement to be irish and not british if I so choose. prove me wrong

    It says you can identify yourself as Irish or British. It doesn’t say you can renounce British citizenship, which you possess automatically by virtue of having been born in the UK.

  • Fraggle

    ok willowfield, find me a law which says that I am a british citizen. I have scanned the IND website briefly but it is chiefly concerned with those who want british citizenship, not those who don’t want it.

  • willowfield

    British Nationality Act 1981, Section 1 states:

    (1) A person born in the United Kingdom after commencement, or in a qualifying territory on or after the appointed day, shall be a British citizen if at the time of the birth his father or mother is–

    (a) a British citizen; or

    (b) settled in the United Kingdom or that territory.

    I assume you were born before 1983 (when this Act commenced), but believe me: the previous legislation wasn’t much different – people born in the UK are British citizens.

  • willowfield

    From the Reform Movement web site:

    I was born in Northern Ireland. Am I British?

    If you were born before 1 January 1983, the answer is yes (unless your father was an Irish diplomat).

    If you were born on or after 1 January 1983, the position is more complex. You will be automatically British if one of your parents was a British citizen (but not a British subject) at the time of your birth. This applies whether they had a British passport or not.

    If neither parent was a British citizen, you will still be British automatically if either of your parents was ‘settled’ in the UK. This is defined as being ordinarily resident and having permission to stay indefinitely in the UK. Irish citizens are given this permission automatically, so the only issue would be whether your parents were living in Northern Ireland at the time you were born. If that was the case, then you are British automatically, if not (eg they were on holidays) then you will not be British from birth.

  • Fraggle

    Thanks willowfield.

    Now, if I formally renounced my british nationality would I be prevented from getting that job (assuming that I was qualified etc.)?

  • Anonymous

    It’s not possible formally to renounce it.

  • willowfield

    (Above post was by willowfield.)

  • Anonymous

    Fraggle and other Brits out!!

    Only joking!!! :o)

  • Fraggle

    according to your link it is. you can do it at a british embassy

  • maca

    I wouldn’t use the Reform Movement as reference, they have their own agendas.
    The GFA does raise some interesting questions, I read it the same as Fraggle.

  • willowfield

    Then you read it wrong … like Fraggle.

  • willowfield

    Fraggle

    according to your link it is. you can do it at a british embassy

    Hadn’t noticed that. Apologies. That’s something I have learned today.

    Are you going to renounce it?

    In answer to your question, then, you would not be entitled to take up the job in question if you had renounced your citizenship (although what are the chances of them finding out?).

  • Anonymous

    well willowfield, you are wrong about renouncing british citizenship

  • Anonymous

    If you read the post immediately before yours, you will see that I already acknowledged that.

  • maca

    “Then you read it wrong … like Fraggle”

    So, my point is that it certainly raises interesting qustions worth debating.

  • Anonymous

    sorry willowfield. I hadn’t read your message becasue I hadn’t updated the thread.

    I agree maca. the passage in the GFA is slightly ambiguous and i can’t find anywhere where it says that the british parliament changed the law on nationality.

    how about this then. if someone (a person of northern ireland) renounced their british citizenship and claimed irish citizenship by right according to the GFA, would that person be eligable for the job? if so, then why not another irish non british citizen born in dublin?

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    if someone (a person of northern ireland) renounced their british citizenship and claimed irish citizenship by right according to the GFA, would that person be eligable for the job? if so, then why not another irish non british citizen born in dublin?

    See the answer already given to the same question by me at 8.08pm last night.

  • Anonymous

    Above was posted by me (Willowfield). (This is getting annoying.)