Southerners should have right to choose British citizenship

The DUP is pushing for automatic access to British citizenship for people born in the Republic and living in Northern Ireland without having to go through the naturalisation process.

  • slug

    On the face of it, a great idea.

  • T.Ruth

    I am surprised that this reciprocal arrangement was not fiercely promoted prior to this by Sinn Fein and the Republic of Ireland government as part of the great desire for equality. well done DUP.

  • circles

    Very imaginative DUP – really inspired piece of “if they can do it we can do it”. Such vision will surely have us out of our difficulties by lunchtime.
    Whats the situation in all the other ex-colonies regarding british citizenship?

  • George

    Firstly, you can’t restrict it just to NI, what about all the Irish living in Britain. Does the DUP mean them too? I’m sure other ethnic groups would have a problem with this.

    Also, considering just 2.3% of the population of Northern Ireland was born in the Irish Republic, you’d have to wonder about this, especially when you look at where these people are located.

    Belfast East – 1.30%
    Belfast North – 1.28
    Belfast South – 3.43
    Belfast West – 1.27
    East Antrim – 1.08
    East Derry – 2.10
    Fermanagh and South Tyrone – 5.54
    Foyle – 5.11
    Lagan Valley – 1.44
    Mid Ulster – 1.23
    Newry and Armagh – 4.62
    North Antrim – 0.98
    North Down – 1.91
    South Antrim – 1.12
    South Down – 2.10
    Strangford – 1.19
    Upper Bann – 1.48
    West Tyrone – 4.09

    The majority are living in areas that are majority nationalist, which makes me wonder how many people from the Irish Republic living in NI who consider themselves British are the DUP talking about.

    Campbell doesn’t mention a figure so we’ll have to keep an eye on how many postcards come back. Personally, I’d say they are few and far between but I’ll await the results.

    Why didn’t these people’s parents keep up the British citizenship if it was that important, after all the passports were half the price and the only other option was the dreaded Harp?

  • smcgiff

    Makes sense.

    DUP stands up for nationalists SHOCKER!

    🙂

  • Tadhgin

    Actually this would make quite a difference for any NI civil servants from the south who were interested in secondments to MoD/FCO (which do come up quite frequently)

    As to the objection regarding other ethnicities/ex-colonies in Britain the best explanation is that only Ireland was once part of the UK itself, making it up on the hoof for sure (given that British Citizenship etc. was a different thing then) but there you go.

  • Mick

    Thanks for the figures George (source?). I’ll ask them to keep us up to date with the progress of the project.

  • Ling

    I think that’s actually a good idea for all sides, weirdly from the DUP.

    The island Ireland has what can only be described as a ‘funny’ relationship with Britain. Part of the island is part of the British state, the other part is technically not a foreign country, ROI citizens are allowed to vote and stand for election regardless of the EU, the island itself was part of Britain, in bits and bats, for the most of the last 1000 years, a vast chunk of us live in Britain (Northern Irish British citizens, Northern Irish ROI citizens and ROI citizens living on the island of Britain). We’re one of the few pairs of countries where dual nationality is not only okay, but a perfectly normal concept.

    People from the British state on Ireland can have citizenship in the Irish state on Ireland if they want it, so why not allow prople from Irish state on Ireland to have citizenship in British state on Ireland?

    It seems like a fair enough like for like deal, and if nothing else (as much as I’m sure the DUP would not like to hear it) takes a first step in dealing with people with a British identity in Ireland, which we will gain an awful lot more of if a UI ever comes about.

  • George

    Mick,

    SourceSource is the 2001 Northern Ireland Census.

  • Keith M

    Excellent suggestion. The number of people automatically eligable to British citizenship (born in Ireland prior to 1948 or parents both born prior to 1921) is getting smaller every year. If people from this country live and work in Northern Ireland, they should be entitled to citizenship, given the special relationship between the UK and Ireland.

    George “Firstly, you can’t restrict it just to NI, what about all the Irish living in Britain.” Not true, the UK government can take the same position to Northern Ireland as the Republic can and treat it as a special case.

  • George

    Keithm,
    I don’t believe it can. For the UK government, the Irish Republic is a foreign state, while Northern Ireland is an intrinsic part of the UK.

    You can’t have different citizenship rights in different parts of the UK. I’m no lawyer but I’d say an Irish person in London could argue he/she has as much right to it then as someone living in Strabane.

    So now the DUP is arguing that NI is different to the rest of the UK. That makes it less intrinsic.

  • slug

    It would anyway be a good idea to extend the DUPs idea to the rest of the UK, while also allowing anyone born in GB who lives in ROI to take an Irish passport.

    George may have a point about treating NI differently – that could seem like discrimination based on race. We have seen that the Labour party has had to accept members in NI on this basis.

  • Ling

    Is the ROI still not a foreign country as in the Ireland act of 1920ish (can’t remember exactly), or did that status change between then and now? I assume it hasn’t changed as all the funny rules about Irish people being able to vote and stand in national and local elections etc are still in effect.

  • slug

    One of the nice things about being from NI is that you don’t seem to get picked up by the speeding cameras in GB. Either that or I have been INCREDIBLY lucky.

  • George

    Ling,
    Good Friday Agreement repealed Government of Ireland Act 1920.

    Although not written in stone, here is a wykpedia explanation of the ROI UK citizenship morass:


    “>link

  • Brian Boru

    I thought the Ireland Act 1949 already allowed this?

  • Mick Fealty

    Does anybody know what the blocks might be to treating NI separately? The Common Travel Area and automatic rights for Irish Citzen’s vote in Britain already might suggest it would only require small adjustments in current arrangements?

  • George

    oops
    link

  • Jimmy_Sands

    For practical purposes acquiring a UK passport would make no practical difference to these people. NI nationalists who take out RoI citizenship do so for reasons of affinity which don’t seem to apply in this case.

  • Biffo

    Slug

    “One of the nice things about being from NI is that you don’t seem to get picked up by the speeding cameras in GB. Either that or I have been INCREDIBLY lucky”

    That also goes for the Isle of Man and the channel islands. The computer in Swansea only delas with Wales, England & Scotland.

    But if they really want to track you down they can, as I’ve found to my cost.

  • smcgiff

    ‘One of the nice things about being from NI is that you don’t seem to get picked up by the speeding cameras in GB.’

    My dim question for today – Does NI have GB reg cars? If not, what is it, and shouldn’t it be UK reg if it does. I’m guessing it isn’t IRL either! 🙂

    Er, apologies in advance.

  • slug

    smgiff

    The registration systems differ in Scotland, E&W and NI but the fining systems don’t depend on where the cars registration plate is from: whether you get fined depends on whether your drivers LICENCE is GB or NI. GB is done from Swansea and NI from Coleraine. There was some talk of amagamating the two to save costs but the ubiquitous G Campbell has opposed that.

  • smcgiff

    Thanks, Slug,

    Never noticed them having NI tags. Must look more carefully!

  • Alan2

    The DUP should also be pushing this with the Southern Government to extend the right of people living in the Republic to British passport if those so wish (heck if we are on a road to a United Ireland as SF say then it will have to be implemented anyhow so might as well offer it to the minority in the Republic now.)

    “I don’t believe it can. For the UK government, the Irish Republic is a foreign state, while Northern Ireland is an intrinsic part of the UK.”

    Firstly the Republic is NOT actually a foreign state..the Ireland Act 1949 has remained largely unaltered and declares that the Republic of Ireland is NOT a foreign country as far as he United Kingdom is concerned.

  • Rebecca Black

    Imaginative my backside! The Reform Movement have been campaigning for this for years, all the DUP had to do was look on their website!

    Having said that, it is an issue that needs brought to the Irish governments attention and in fairness the DUP are in a better position to do that than the Reform Movement.

  • Henry94

    Alan2

    The DUP should also be pushing this with the Southern Government to extend the right of people living in the Republic to British passport if those so wish

    It is not for the Irish government to tell people they can have a British passport. It’s a matter for the British. They can issue passports to anyone they want.

  • Ringo

    Alan2

    Firstly the Republic is NOT actually a foreign state..the Ireland Act 1949 has remained largely unaltered and declares that the Republic of Ireland is NOT a foreign country as far as he United Kingdom is concerned.

    Is it not the case that this has been superseded by the acts enabling the various EU structures since 1973?

    Henry
    It is not for the Irish government to tell people they can have a British passport. It’s a matter for the British. They can issue passports to anyone they want.

    Spot on. The Irish government has already grants the right to all its citzens to hold a British passport.

  • George

    Alan2,
    “Firstly the Republic is NOT actually a foreign state..the Ireland Act 1949 has remained largely unaltered and declares that the Republic of Ireland is NOT a foreign country as far as he United Kingdom is concerned.”

    It states the Irish Republic is not a foreign country as far as law is concerned, not as far as the UK is concerned. That is my understanding.

    Otherwise, even though I’m an Irish citizen, I still could be charged with treason, be conscripted etc. I can’t.

    Rebecca,
    and the Reform Movement has been campaigning under the erroneous idea that there are 700,000 British passport holders in the Irish Republic as it is even though there are only on average 4,000 issued a year from the British Embassy in Dublin.

  • maca

    Alan2
    “The DUP should also be pushing this with the Southern Government to extend the right of people living in the Republic to British passport if those so wish”

    You mean the British Government, but why should Irish (ROI) people be entitled to a British passport?

  • mr bigglesworth

    for the same reason that people in the north are entitled to an irish passport

  • CavanMan

    If it is wanted by some of my countries citizens, i dont understand how it cannot be good for everyone.This is what us republicans should have been moving towards, to show Unionists that in a possible UI, their britishness would be respected.And whats with the DUP taking this up, an attempt to eclipse the reform movement and the Irish Unionists, who have worked hard for this for so long? Seems like someone wants to be seen as the ”be it and end all” of Unionism on this island.

  • barnshee

    “That also goes for the Isle of Man and the channel islands. The computer in Swansea only delas with Wales, England & Scotland.

    But if they really want to track you down they can, as I’ve found to my cost”

    Well no -without giving too much away the computers Swansea/Coleraine are networked and the fuzz, customs et al have access and can track ANY reg no IF THEY CHOOSE

  • barnshee

    If the surly hostility demonstrated (to British Passport holders returning to Dublin from Paris) by immigration staff was anything to go by residents of the Republic would be very foolish to claim “british passports” It took a “I wish to speak to you superior officer” and “I wish to formally complain about your attitude” to move the fuckers

  • Alan2

    “You mean the British Government, but why should Irish (ROI) people be entitled to a British passport?”

    For the very same reason British people in NI are entitled to Irish passports.

    The DUP should not limit the scope to Southerners now living in NI they should be seeking the right to a British passport for anyone born(to Irish/British citizen) parents on the island of Ireland (who wants one

  • Keith M

    George “and the Reform Movement has been campaigning under the erroneous idea that there are 700,000 British passport holders in the Irish Republic as it is even though there are only on average 4,000 issued a year from the British Embassy in Dublin.”

    Are you sure its erroneous? Think of the people who have moved from Northern Ireland. Think of those that have returned to this country having worked in the UK? Think of the British people working in this country? 700,000 may be an overstatement, but it may include those that are entitled to British passports as well.