Dana says US citizenship an 'advantage' in Áras race

Fri, Oct 7, 2011, 01:00

Presidential candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon said today it was "a total advantage" for her to have US citizenship along with her Irish citizenship.

She said the question of her American citizenship was “irrelevant” in the context of the campaign.

Ms Scallon became a US citizen prior to putting her name forward for the 1997 presidential election but a decision was taken not to inform the electorate, her sister told a court in Iowa in 2008 during a legal case involving ownership of some of  the singer's recordings.

Ms Scallon said she was not party to any conversation not to disclose her US citizenship in 1997 and her husband and her brother had no recollection of wanting to hide her US citizenship in the 1997 presidential campaign.

She said the issue had not been raised on the campaign trail in 1997. “I truly was never asked. I truly knew it was not a problem. And I don’t think it’s a problem now,” she told Radio Kerry.

Speaking later on RTÉ's News at One, Ms Scallon said she had not become a US citizen prior to the last presidential election.

"I did not become a [US] citizen until 1999. I was not a citizen in 1997 so there was obviously a mistaken memory," she said.

Ms Scallon also said she thought it was a new low to bring a family disagreement into the public "to make her seem like a malign person."

"This was a personal family matter and it's being used by the media in order to paint me as a person who lies. I do not lie. I always told the truth. I believe that my integrity would stay intact."

Ms Scallon said earlier today she applied for US citizenship because her husband was working in the US and did so in order for the family to remain there legally.

People becoming naturalised US citizens take an oath renouncing their allegiance to all other states.

Ms Scallon said read the particular section before taking the oath and told the official: “I can’t sign this if I am going to hand over my Irish citizenship and he laughed and said ‘you don’t have to’.”

Ms Scallon said the official told her there was “a special arrangement” between the US and Ireland, “a unique relationship” which meant she could retain her Irish citizenship.

Her US citizenship emerged as part of a court hearing in Iowa in 2008

Her sister Susan Stein gave evidence to the court that she discussed her sister’s citizenship with Dana’s husband, Damien Scallon, and Dana’s brother and adviser in her current presidential campaign, John Brown, during the presidential contest in 1997.

“When she ran for the presidential election in Ireland, John and Damien and I had a meeting,” Ms Stein told the US court. “She had just acquired her American citizenship, at the same time she was running for president of a foreign country, and the decision was made that it wouldn’t look very good if the people of Ireland knew she was an American citizen.”

Ms Stein, who lives in Iowa but came to Ireland for her sister’s 1997 election campaign, made her comments during a bitter row over the ownership of some of Dana’s religious recordings.

In his ruling in the dispute, Iowa judge Charles Wolle found none of the witnesses in the case, who included Dana, spoke “only the truth” when giving their sworn testimony.

He said both Dana and her sister had “convenient memories to some extent”. Ms Scallon said yesterday the judge had made comments about everyone and “that’s a judge’s prerogative”.

THE US OATH OF ALLEGIANCE: WHAT IT SAYS

This is the oath of allegiance taken by those who become citizens of the US:

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.