Citizenship and the Constitution


A chara, – Fintan O’Toole is naive in the extreme if he thinks that reopening a known and unintended loophole in the law, which has been shown to be prone to systematic exploitation in the past – in this case arriving in Ireland, having had no previous connection with the country, specifically to give birth and thus have leverage regarding your own rights and that of the rest of your family – will somehow not result in it being taken advantage of again (“We must end our hypocrisy on the Belfast Agreement”, Opinion & Analysis, July 16th).

That applies whether it relates to erasing speeding fines, burning ash for cash or immigration law.

Nobody can blame a person for attempting to exploit a legal loophole to their benefit.

Similarly, nobody can blame a government for closing it once the problem has become apparent.

Recent, and complex, cases regarding persons born here and who have been long-term residents can be resolved without having to return to the situation the 27th Amendment was intended to address. – Is mise,



Co Kildare.

Sir, – Fintan O’Toole’s rant against the 2004 citizenship referendum fails to point out one salient fact. At the time we were the only country in Europe where a child born here automatically was a citizen of this country irrespective of the parents’ residential status. Other countries, with a longer tradition of inward migration, had laws in place to prevent the so-called anchor baby phenomenon. It is not, contrary to what Fintan O Toole thinks, a scare story. There was documented evidence it was going on in Ireland at the time of the referendum. Given that Brexit is coming and that we will be the major English-speaking nation in the EU, reverting back to the pre-2004 situation would only encourage birthright tourism in our State and by extension encourage anti-migrant sentiment. – Yours, etc,



Co Clare.

Sir, – Fintan O’Toole claims that the 2004 citizenship referendum designed to stop so-called “birth tourism” was “a disgrace to Irish democracy”.

He neglects to mention that Irish voters passed the referendum by 79 per cent in favour, despite The Irish Times and the rest of the “open borders” lobby campaigning for a No vote. Perhaps that is your columnist’s real beef with the referendum? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 13.

Sir, – Fintan O’Toole expresses his unease with the outcome of the referendum on the 27th Amendment.

Notwithstanding the 79 per cent vote in favour of the amendment, he recommends a “re-run”. However, in view of the decisive outcome of the vote, surely a “re-run” would more than likely produce a similar result, with the added possibility of a highly charged and divisive debate on all matters to do with immigration, refugees and migrants.

Is your columnist not being a little over-sensitive to the gleeful criticism of the DUP in this matter? – Yours, etc,