‘Paddy Northern Irishman’ a 2nd class citizen?

This press release from Republican Sinn Féin is a little short on the necessary background detail for a full assessment of what they claim:

..anyone born in the Six Occupied Counties of Ireland has their nationality registered with the 26-County Department of Social and Family Affairs as Northern Irish.

If true it would seem unconstitutional (Though RSF wouldn’t recognise that Constitution – pdf):

Article 2

It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish Nation. That is also the entitlement of all persons otherwise qualified in accordance with law to be citizens of Ireland. Furthermore, the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage.

Interestingly they also claim the Northerner who raised this was..

was asked to produce his passport to verify his citizenship!

Has holding a passport become a qualifier of citizenship for Irish people born in ‘Northern Ireland’?

  • slug

    People from NI are not automatically ROI citizens, although they also are not presumed not to be but they need to take an action that makes them so, according to the ROI legislation.

  • Mark McGregor


    We are presumed to be British citizens and have to pay for that assumption to be removed.

    Saying that though, I’ve previously found it convenient to avail of a British passport (much more than just the ease of getting it) and personally don’t think a passport has anything to do with identity – tis just paper.

  • This has to be seen in the context of the 2004 Citizenship Referendum which amended Article 9 of the Irish Constitution, which now says:

    Article 9.2.1:
    Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, a person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, who does not have, at the time of the birth of that person, at least one parent who is an Irish citizen or entitled to be an Irish citizen is not entitled to Irish citizenship or nationality, unless provided for by law.

    Article 9.2.2:
    This section shall not apply to persons born before the date of the enactment of this section.

    The intention behind this measure was to weed out abuse of the system by illegal immigrants who were having babies to claim Irish citizenship for them. The 2004 Chen case involved a Chinese businesswoman who – while not apparently an illegal immigrant – was advised by her lawyer to travel to NI to have a baby, in order to claim Irish/EU citizenship for that baby, and then use that in the ECJ to claim residency rights as the parent of an EU citizen. 80% approved the amendment in the referendum. It needs to be stressed that Article 2 does not mention citizenship as such – only being part of the Irish nation.

  • igor

    Article 2 means nothing and citizenship rights are qualified

  • Presumably NI Irish citizens are not likely to have RoI social insurance numbers or to have made PRSI contributions etc. unless they have actually resided and worked in the South. Perhaps this the reason for the distinction.

  • To me its rather pointless as citizenship rights are qualified, but i think Republican Sinn Fein are regarding the whole principal of the irish peoples national identity.. Republican Sinn Fein are respectable Irish Republicans who uphold the traditional values of Irish Republicanism, they would wish that the free state would be a little more ‘care-free’ when regarding the partition of ireland.