Citizenship – a matter of convenience?

 

Sir, – The Irish may be justified in feeling a little amused at seeing members of the British establishment fleeing to Irish citizenship with the Brexit mess, but it is all a little too serious to treat it as a joke (“Brexit fears prompt ex-British ambassador to become Irish citizen”, April 29th).

It is clearly the case that many British citizens entitled to Irish citizenship had absolutely no interest or desire to obtain it previously. Now with Brexit, they may find their holiday homes in Italy or France, for example, a little more difficult to access.

Are we Irish really happy to see our citizenship and all it entails reduced to just an administrative convenience that shortens queuing times in EU airports? I, for one, certainly am not.

I understand the rules of citizenship are complex, particularly given our emigrant history but the solution is both simple and fair. Ireland, like a number of other EU countries currently, should not permit dual citizenship.

If current eligible candidates really want to be Irish citizens, then let them renounce their previous citizenship. This would sends a clear message that the Irish State expects Irish citizenship to be taken seriously by the Irish, both new and old.

Obviously, given the peculiarities and sensitivities of the Six Counties, an exception can be made for any British citizen born and bred in Northern Ireland. However, this important exception underscores the point that the very idea itself of dual citizenship should really ever only have been the rare exception rather than the norm it has become. Failure by the State to address this matter now may cause Ireland in future years to develop its own version of England’s caustic nationalism that has brought Britain to the Brexit mess it now finds itself in. – Yours, etc,

JOE HENRY,

Blackrock, Co Dublin.