Revoking Irish citizenship


Sir, – Dr Umar al-Qadri has said “naturalised Irish citizens who travel abroad to take part in conflict should have their citizenship revoked” (News, January 8th). This suggestion is understandable but it puts the onus on the Irish State to remove their citizenship. It also singles out one particular group who choose to take a particular side in these conflicts while ignoring many others, including Irish citizens who go abroad to fight in these same conflicts but choose to fight on the other side. We in Ireland should be especially conscious of the blurred distinction between terrorists and freedom fighters.

Do we treat a person with a name like Seán Ó Murchú fighting with the Kurdish separatist group in Syria different from a person with a Muslim name fighting for Isis? Do we ignore Irish citizens who leave Ireland and join British, French, or US armies? Why is it considered acceptable for some Irish citizens to kill other humans in wars that are very often unjustified, but not okay for other Irish citizens to do likewise?

The solution may well be to make a radical change in the Constitution, whereby after a specified date, any Irish citizen who joins any foreign army or armed militia group would automatically lose their Irish citizenship.

If this were enacted, then the revoking of their Irish citizenship would be implemented by the person themselves on their joining a foreign army or militia. It would also have the beneficial results of preventing neutral Irish citizens from unjustified killing of our fellow humans. This prohibition should also apply to Irish citizens joining any Nato or European Union army. The only exceptions should be genuine United Nations peacekeeping. – Yours, etc,