Citizenship and the law


Sir, – In his article seeking to repeal the 2004 citizenship referendum result (“We must end our hypocrisy on the Belfast Agreement”, Opinion & Analysis, July 16th), Fintan O’Toole omits to mention that at the time of the referendum, no other EU state allowed birth citizenship. This, I assume, remains the case.

He is also disingenuous, to put it kindly, when he says that “a person born in the island of Ireland does not have the right to citizenship unless he or she has at least one parent who was an Irish citizen at the time of the birth”. He conveniently omits the end of the sentence, which is “unless provided for by law”. The Nationality and Citizenship Act 2004, the content of which voters were informed of before the referendum, provides citizenship at birth to anyone who has a parent resident in Ireland for three of the previous four years. That compares very favourably with other EU states. – Yours, etc,


Immigration Control


Dublin 2.

Sir, – Fintan O’Toole’s dismissal of the overwhelming (79 per cent) vote in favour of the 27th Amendment to the Constitution removing the automatic right to citizenship of anyone born here, and thereby aligning us with European norms, as “really terrible” and “shabby and shameful”, is reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s description of Trump voters as “deplorables”.

Fintan O’Toole thinks the electorate was too ill-informed to make the “correct” decision and should be asked again. Of course he did not campaign for a re-run of the 1995 divorce referendum, passed by less than 1 per cent with very low turnout; that was the “right” result.

It is easy to understand the rise of populism when the liberal establishment has such scant regard for voters. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

A chara, – Having read Fintan O’Toole’s article, I also have an issue about the 2004 referendum.

I married an Irishman in 1974. I have lived here for 45 years, having had three children, all of whom are living and working in this country. All have Irish passports.

As a family, we have been paying Irish taxes.

I have friends in the same position as myself who have been through a rigorous process and paid €1,000 in order to gain Irish citizenship and thereby an Irish passport.

Surely, after 45 years, it’s fair to ask for citizenship without paying the substantial sums currently being demanded? – Is mise,



Co Wicklow.