Buy an Irish passport and duck out of getting ID Card

This reply to Sylvia Hermon’s question seems to raise more questions than it answers, but the Home Office minister’s reply gives the impression at least that if you have Irish nationality you are not obliged to carry an ID Card in the way that, say, a French citizen would be obliged to after three month’s residency in the UK.

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Irish nationals living in Northern Ireland will be required to carry a UK identity national card once they are introduced. [123500]

Joan Ryan: Under Section 13(3) of the Identity Cards Act 2006, there is no authorisation to make any regulations that would require anyone to carry an identity card with them at all times once they are introduced.

The Belfast (Good Friday Agreement) confirmed that all the peoples of Northern Ireland had the right to identify themselves as Irish, British or both, as they chose.

As such, those Irish nationals who wish to identify as a dual national may choose to obtain a British passport and, in that event, would be issued with an identity card as well. The status and entitlements of those who choose not to obtain a British passport, whether they identify as Irish, British or both will remain unchanged.

However, it is the Government’s policy that, eventually, any individual who is resident in the United Kingdom for more than three months should be issued with an identity card, regardless of their nationality. Further primary legislation will need to be approved in Parliament in order to introduce such a compulsory scheme.

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  • John Farrell

    Well its hardly a surprise.
    The GFA guarantees the right to be Irish so obviously no need to have a “UK” ID card.

    It would be impossible to “police” in exactly the same way Conscription could not be enforced in two world wars. And more proof Belfast is not Birmingham or Bradford.

  • “eventually, any individual who is resident in the United Kingdom for more than three months should be issued with an identity card, regardless of their nationality”

    Surely that’s saying that they will have to have one eventually. Is there any point in ‘ducking out’ if you don’t have to carry it anyway (aside from the extra cost it will add to the cost of getting a UK passport)?

  • John Farrell

    Hell will freeze over before I carry one.

  • willowfield

    JOHN FARRELL

    The GFA guarantees the right to be Irish so obviously no need to have a “UK” ID card.

    That doesn’t follow at all. The right to “identify as” Irish need not preclude UK citizens or residents from being required to carry an identity card.

    The answer is confused: the reference to the Belfast Agreement is irrelevant; and the fourth paragraph appears to contradict the third.

    If anyone resident in the UK for more than 3 months is to be issued with an identity card, then “the status and entitlements of those who choose not to obtain a British passport” will NOT “remain unchanged”.

  • Rubicon

    Mick – Ryan’s response doesn’t seem to support the inference you draw; ie, a French citizen would be obliged to carry an ID card but an Irish citizen wouldn’t. Ryan’s response refers to “any individual … resident in the UK”.

    Have I missed something?

    Whether Irish, British or French – ALL should oppose this ID scheme. You seem to have tainted a debate not yet finished with the curse of NI politics where the issue is soon lost over rows over “parity of esteem”.

  • John Farrell

    There will be no obligation on anyone in this semi detached part of the disUnited Kingdom to carry a “UK” ID card.
    It wont happen.

  • willowfield

    JOHN FARRELL

    There will be no obligation on anyone in this semi detached part of the disUnited Kingdom to carry a “UK” ID card.

    How do you know?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Willow

    “That doesn’t follow at all. The right to “identify as” Irish need not preclude UK citizens or residents from being required to carry an identity card.”

    What do you think are the chances of Northern Ireland being treated as a “special case” in the legislation?

    I have a sneaking feeling that, as with conscription (judiciously referred to above) we Irish will end up sitting this one out.

    What do you think?

  • Tim

    I think that the point is not about Nationality or whether you refer to yourself as Irish or British, the point is about identity cards, you can’t wipe your hole in Sweden without producing a “legitimation” (ID). Turning this into another Irish/British issue takes completely from the whole idea that sooner or later you will be compelled to be able to identify yourself in modern Europe.

  • Crataegus

    Rubicon

    Whether Irish, British or French – ALL should oppose this ID scheme.

    I agree. It is an expensive exercise that has little to do with the issues they claim for it.

  • Rory

    This is such fun. Irish citizens who happen to live in the north of that country and considering themselves British clamour desperately for the right to be oppressed by a Big Brother British government and demand to be “tatooed”, as it were, to confirm that identity. Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas. Sad…oh so very sad.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    willowfield: “That doesn’t follow at all. The right to “identify as” Irish need not preclude UK citizens or residents from being required to carry an identity card. ”

    Yes, but the fourth paragraph smacks of a man, be it in a black and silver uniform or an ill-fitting suit asking you “Vhere are you papers?” being somewhere down the road…

  • BonarLaw

    “I have a sneaking feeling that, as with conscription (judiciously referred to above) we Irish will end up sitting this one out.

    What do you think?”

    I think if producing a UK ID card was necessary to obtaining, say, DLA then our Irish minority would swamp the application system.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    BonarLaw

    Nice. What an asset you are to Northern Ireland!

  • BonarLaw

    Billy Pilgrim

    Thank you. I think so.

  • Bemused

    Won’t happen – the Brits know that the North is a ‘special case’ and will fudge the cards issue here rather than embark on a needlessly divisive and troublesome program of across-the-board enforcement. Ultimately of course there’ll be a common European identity card, but in the interim, the chances of Irish people living in the North having to carry British identity papers is nil.

  • BonarLaw

    Bemused

    what about Irish people living in Birmingham or Kilburn?

    Anyhow, this isn’t about nationality but rather residence for example check out the big “UK” on all driving licences, car registration documentation and “Blue Badges” issued in Northern Ireland. Just because a document is issued by the British state it doesn’t make the bearer British.

  • This point has been raised before by Lá (now Lá Nua) and as there are no plans to introduce ID cards south of the border, this pig won’t fly.

    However, that’s not to say that John Reid’s recent visit to his likeminded colleague, McDowell, hasn’t got something to do with this and that McD may not be tempted to try one on the Irish Electorate, like he did with the racist Citizenship Referendum in 2004 and his other loophole infested legislation.

  • Bemused

    “Bemused

    what about Irish people living in Birmingham or Kilburn?”

    What about them? If they’re living in Britain then they can hardly complain about being forced to carry a British identification card.

  • Pacman

    “I think if producing a UK ID card was necessary to obtaining, say, DLA then our Irish minority would swamp the application system.”

    Strange – I didn’t think there was too many people living on the Shankhill that called themselves Irish. What next? Will they be keeping their coal in their baths?

  • BonarLaw

    Bemused

    If they’re living in the UK then they can hardly complain about being forced to carry a British identification card.

    Anyhow, the legislation does not force anyone to carry anything.

  • willowfield

    BILLY PILGRIM

    What do you think are the chances of Northern Ireland being treated as a “special case” in the legislation? I have a sneaking feeling that, as with conscription (judiciously referred to above) we Irish will end up sitting this one out.

    It wouldn’t surprise me, but, on the other hand, if the Government is so concerned about security, why would it wish to compromise it by excluding one part of the kingdom?

  • Bemused

    “Bemused

    If they’re living in the UK then they can hardly complain about being forced to carry a British identification card.

    Anyhow, the legislation does not force anyone to carry anything.

    Posted by BonarLaw on Mar 05, 2007 @ 10:09 PM”

    A neat summation of the historical northern conflict. You think you live in the U.K., I think I live in Ireland. You say tomato, I say ‘tomayto’.

  • willowfield

    You do live in Ireland and – assuming you live in Northern Ireland – you also live in the UK.

    Northern Ireland is part of the UK: they are not separate.

  • George

    “However, it is the Government’s policy that, eventually, any individual who is resident in the United Kingdom for more than three months should be issued with an identity card, regardless of their nationality.”

    If it comes to pass and the primary legislation is passed to make carrying an ID card compulsory, I would assume then that Irish citizens in Northern Ireland would get the same identity card as people from the Irish Republic who are resident in the UK for more than 3 months.

    All that will happen is that all Irish citizens will be treated the same. No problem.

  • willowfield

    Exactly, George.

  • SuperSoupy

    I’m not British so I can’t have one of those. I’m not a foreigner in my own country so I won’t take one of those.

    I’m Irish. Don’t tell me otherwise, you all agreed at a vote.

    If you want to talk about ID cards you can negotiate. We’ll take the none that other Irish citizens carry throughout Europe.

  • SuperSoupy

    Do these lunactics expect families from Dundalk (throughout the south) to carry passports when shopping in the north?

  • BonarLaw

    SuperSoupy

    “I’m not British so I can’t have one of those. I’m not a foreigner in my own country so I won’t take one of those.

    I’m Irish. Don’t tell me otherwise, you all agreed at a vote”

    Interesting points. There was indeed a vote which left NI as part of the UK. Like it or not you live in the British state. You are not a citizen of that state so I suppose in a way you are a foreigner in your “own country”.

    Secondly, I am repeating myself here, but this is not about nationality but rather residence. If you drive you have a UK licence (have a look if you don’t believe me) but as you say you are Irish. Same deal with an ID card (which, BTW, I oppose on old fashioned Civil Liberty grounds).

  • BonarLaw

    Bemused

    Look at a map.

    Read the GFA (or better still the Northern Ireland Act 1998).

    I don’t think I live in the UK. We do live in the UK. Also on the island of Ireland but definitely not in the state calling itself “Ireland”.

    Tomato/ tomayto? Don’t think so.

  • “I’m Irish. Don’t tell me otherwise, you all agreed at a vote”

    Likewise, you live in the UK. Don’t tell me otherwise, you all agreed at a vote.

    Only the pathetic scrotes of this country could turn a civil liberties/national security (take whichever option you prefer) into an issue of how British/Irish we are/aren’t. Grow up.

  • jamestwo

    When will NI Unionists grasp that they can insist they are British till the cows come home but the real Brits simply dont see them as such. I would guess 90% of Brits see your Ulster prod as simply a rather oddball variety of paddy. a la Paisley. It must be an awful feeling to know that after all this time proclaiming your loyalty , the Somme and the rest; when push comes to shove they would love to be rid of you. Where on earth (literally) will you go when the time comes? You could settle the Falklands and defend it from the papist Argies I suppose.

  • willowfield

    SUPERSOUPY

    I’m not British so I can’t have one of those.

    But it says “any individual who is resident in the United Kingdom for more than three months should be issued with an identity card, regardless of their nationality”. Are you resident in the UK? If so, then you can have one.

    I’m not a foreigner in my own country so I won’t take one of those.

    ??

    I’m Irish. Don’t tell me otherwise, you all agreed at a vote.

    ??

    Do these lunactics expect families from Dundalk (throughout the south) to carry passports when shopping in the north?

    No. What makes you think that?

  • John Farrell

    I fully expect to carry ID identity to actually “do” something…
    1 borrow a library book
    2 drive a car

    Having an ID card to actually BE rather than to DO
    is totally different.
    POint is Unionists would love any piece of laminated plastic to have some kind reassurance. They would love them even more if nationalists were “obliged/coerced/tempted/ whatever” to carry them.
    Same as they regret the peace process that abolishes any physical semblance of a border, or any trapping suggesting an international frontier

    But folks…its just not gonna happen.

  • Wise up ,this should not be allowed to become an issue of nationality,it’s an issue of civil liberty,you will have to resist this Orwellian system or big brother will be watching from his new office in palace barracks holywood.

  • heck

    well said “the doc”. It should ‘nt matter if you think you are british or irish. This is one more new labour step on the road to a police state.

  • bootman

    Disappointibng to see even “liberal” unionists pushing for Irish people to still be forced to wear marks of occupation in this day and age.

  • foreign correspondent

    Has anyone else noticed that Northern Ireland is about the only place in the EU where car registration plates don´t have the EU flag format? The only explanation I can think of is that they know that a lot of people in the North would object to being forced to drive a car with GB written on it. So maybe some kind of euro-exception will likewise be made for NI as far as ID cards go?

  • kensei

    “All that will happen is that all Irish citizens will be treated the same. No problem.”

    No f*cking problem!? I have a big problem with the state keeping huge databases of information on people.

    I swear, the second I am coerced into getting one of these, I’m moving South.

  • George

    Kensei,
    I’m also totally against ID cards and consider it a most serious breach of human rights.

    I meant they would have no problems in how they would do it, simply treat all Irish nationals the same.

    If you think things are better down south, think again.

    The proposed Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2007 will force all non-EU citizens to carry id residence permits.

    Nobody seems to be up in arms about these people’s rights.

    How long do you think it is before the rest of us have to follow suit?

    Michael McDowell initially said that if an identity card system were to be introduced in the UK, something similar would have to follow in this jurisdiction, because of the existing common travel area.

    He has since rowed back but I remain to be convinced that any future Irish government won’t try to introduce one here.

    Here is what McDowell said after the London train and bus bombings on ID cards:

    “It’s simplistic to say that if the UK does it, Ireland must follow suit in exactly the same way.

    But if the Irish people took a piece of paper and started writing down the pros and cons and if common travel area is all on one side of that line, I’d say people would be very realistic about where their priorities lay.”

    As for the future, Fine Gael think Boot Camps and tagging are wonderful ideas so they would be trotting out the “if you do nothing wrong you have nothing to fear” line in a heartbeat.

  • Hickenlooper

    The idea, whether you agree with it or not, that ID cards will help in the fight against international terrorism, seems to have been totally ignored in this debate. If I were an Al Qaeda supporter I’d be laughing up my thobe at the stupidity of the identity-obsessed Irish. And I’d be gloriously anticipating that wonderful day when the dreary minarets of Tyrone and Fermanagh will stand as the final monument to that crass stupidity.

  • George

    Hickenlooper,
    Charles Clarke, the British Home Secretary at the time of the London bombings admitted that ID cards wouldn’t have stopped the attacks.

    Perhaps you could show me how they would? Outline your position.

    Would you not think the billions upon billions needed for this system could be better spent?

    Show me a country on this earth were compulsory ID cards have reduced the threat of terrorism.

  • Valenciano

    Soupy: “I’m Irish. Don’t tell me otherwise, you all agreed at a vote.”

    If you’re referring to the GFA then that agreement accepted that NI was part of the UK until the majority decided otherwise albeit with the caveat that people could choose their nationality. Result is that Irish people resident in NI would be treated no differently from French people or any other non-British person. Much as I disagree with id cards, it’s hard to see how any Irish citizen would be suffering discriminatory treatment.

    “If you want to talk about ID cards you can negotiate. We’ll take the none that other Irish citizens carry throughout Europe.”

    Not necessarily. Many EU countries (usually the non-Schengen ones in Central Europe) require residents to have id cards and some of the others only abolished those requirements in recent times. Spain for example in spring 2003. Many of my Irish friends in Valencia who’d been there a while had them. Even now, although it’s not a requirement any more, try doing a lot of things in Spain without an id card and it’s not so easy.

    Hickenlooper, the people who committed the 11/3 bombings in Madrid all had Spanish id cards. How is it supposed to be a deterrant?

  • Rory

    The idea, whether you agree with it or not, that ID cards will help in the fight against international terrorism,“, says Hickenlooper.

    Given that the overwhelming bulk of international terrorism is committed by US and British forces and that those who support ID cards tend, in the main, to support that terrorism I can’t see how ID cards will help. Surely you are not asking that decent, right minded citizens who oppose their government’s barbarous war-mongering and the introduction of ID cards should unilaterally combat terrorism by attacking those easily identifiable ID card carrying supporters of civilian butchery? I’m a wee bit old now for adventurous vigilantism no matter how attractive it might seem at first contemplation.

  • Yoda

    Much as I disagree with id cards, it’s hard to see how any Irish citizen would be suffering discriminatory treatment.

    I think it boils down to the fact that those who see themselves as Irish, born in Ireland will be forced to carry cards that marks them as aliens in what they consider their own country.

    If anything, it clearly sketches the limits of the all-or-nothingnature of the GFA. It was a bad deal.

    Joint authority seems to me to be the only framework within which equitable structures can be established that allow people in the North to be full citizens (Irish or British) of the country they feel something for.

    Shouting those who object down by saying “Look, this is the UK,” not only ignores the issue (try imagining the situation if it were reversed) but pretends that NI is unproblematically part of the UK. It is at best selfishly shortsighted and at worst triumphalist.

  • willowfield

    FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT

    Has anyone else noticed that Northern Ireland is about the only place in the EU where car registration plates don´t have the EU flag format? The only explanation I can think of is that they know that a lot of people in the North would object to being forced to drive a car with GB written on it. So maybe some kind of euro-exception will likewise be made for NI as far as ID cards go?

    The EU format plates are not compulsory, and the UK does not require cars to carry them. That said, many dealers provide them, including some dealers in NI. There aren’t many about, but you sometimes see a NI reg car with an EU plate.

    There aren’t that many EU plates in the rest of the UK either.

  • willowfield

    YODA

    I think it boils down to the fact that those who see themselves as Irish, born in Ireland will be forced to carry cards that marks them as aliens in what they consider their own country.

    That doesn’t make sense. Northern Ireland is as much a part of Ireland as the Republic is. How could an Irishman be an alien in Ireland?

  • Yoda

    The point is plain. I’m not getting into a endless debate about islands/ nations, etc.

  • willowfield

    It’s plain that NI is as much part of Ireland as ROI is.

  • Hickenlooper

    George and Rory: Note, please, that I spoke of the “idea”, not the “fact” that ID cards would somehow help in the fight against international terrorism. I am as sceptical of the claim as both of you.

    My point was and is that, however little support there might be for the “idea” itself, it (the idea) is a necessary reminder that there can be factors outside the immediate preoccupations of the Northern Ireland parties that need to be considered; that there is, in fact, a world out there. Hence the “Tyrone and Fermanagh” reference. That statement was made at a time when it was possible for us to leave behind the rest of the world and get back to the integrity of our quarrel. Today we ARE the rest of the world. We are part of DAR EL HARB, the battlefield on which Muslim fundanentalists believe any atrocity to be justified. We are threatened by these people every bit as much as the citizens of New York, London or Madrid; the difference being that, instead of combining our resources against the threat they represent we prefer to luxuriate in our already over-rehearsed squabbles.

    Your question, Rory, as to who the real terrorists are merely underscores the possibility that we may have more than one dangerous group to deal with.

  • kensei

    “That doesn’t make sense. Northern Ireland is as much a part of Ireland as the Republic is. How could an Irishman be an alien in Ireland?”

    When forced to carry British ID?

    Hickenlooper.

    That didn’t answer his question.

  • foreign correspondent

    Willowfield, I don´t know what the legal situation is for number plates in the UK, but I have noticed that new cars with a GB registration mostly seem to have the EU format now with the GB identifier under the flag. Such cars are very few and far between in NI. I don´t think this is a coincidence.

  • Rory

    I can’t speak for George, Hickenlooper, but it is the very “idea” that I reject as totally unconvincing, the “fact” of whether or not ID cards are useful to the government and their agents and clients is of no concern to me.

    I simply don’t swallow the whole “Dar el harb” scaremongering as I see it as merely a deflection for the latest surge of liberal imperialism spearheaded by those two rogues Bush and Blair. Now they really do scare me. Between them they have managed to kill more innocents than all the other man made threats to human life in this century. Now that is terrorism – on a grand scale.

  • “I swear, the second I am coerced into getting one of these, I’m moving South. “

    Ah, promises promises. 😉

    As has been stated above, this isn’t about nationality, but residence. Having an ID card (which according to the above you won’t have to carry with you anyway) does not affect your nationality, nor does it make you an “alien”. Such talk is just Sinn Fein rabble rousing.

    If they had any sense, and any real ambition to prevent ID cards, they’d be looking for cross-community opposition on the grounds of civil liberties. The fact that they’re more interested in waving the poor-oppressed-Irish flag (and also the lack of serious opposition from unionist quarters) only demonstrates the obvious limitations of local tribal ‘politics’.

  • Animus

    For the record, Alien Registration Cards are still required by many residents who are not from the US or Commonwealth citizens (from 2000 – prior to 2000, any non-European had to carry one I think) I had one; it was green and I was directed to carry it with me always, to inform the police if I moved house etc.

    I didn’t like it, but I accepted it. I imagine many of those who say they wouldn’t carry it will do at some point if they are made compulsory. I don’t agree with them either, waste of money etc, but once it’s out there, people will take it up. Many people are against anything which tracks their movements, but they gleefully collect Boots points or Nectar card points.

  • Dec

    54 posts in and finally somebody blames it all on SF.

  • willowfield

    KENSEI

    “That doesn’t make sense. Northern Ireland is as much a part of Ireland as the Republic is. How could an Irishman be an alien in Ireland?”

    When forced to carry British ID?

    Being “forced” to carry “British ID” would not mean that NI stopped being part of Ireland!

    FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT

    Willowfield, I don´t know what the legal situation is for number plates in the UK, but I have noticed that new cars with a GB registration mostly seem to have the EU format now with the GB identifier under the flag. Such cars are very few and far between in NI. I don´t think this is a coincidence.

    No, I agree with you: I was just pointing out that the reasons are due to lack of “customer” preference, rather than any government policy. In NI, not only nationalists would be reluctant to have GB plates: many unionists resent the use of “GB” to denote UK (cf. UK Olympic team).