Birthright Citizenship on the Cards Again

If it was not already obvious that Ireland has a major problem with mass-immigration –and in dealing with that problem in the context of a housing crisis –Helen McEntee, the Minister for Justice, in the last couple of weeks has thrown in once again the question of citizenship, or more precisely, the question of citizenship in the context of being born on the island of Ireland. Under the previous two Ministers for Justice, Alan Shatter and Charlie Flanagan, citizenship has been handed out on an unprecedented scale –See article on Citizenship Ceremonies –but the current Minister now seeks to reverse even the restrictions on citizenship put in place in 2004.

The only time that the Irish people have ever been consulted on the matter of when, where and how citizenship should be conferred on non-nationals within this country, was in a referendum in 2004. In that referendum, the Irish people voted 4 to 1 that they wanted to restrict the right of non-nationals to automatic citizenship based on having been born on the island of Ireland. This is the only time the Irish people have been offered an opportunity to voice their opinion at all on immigration and when they have been asked about it, they have asked for less of it.

However, Minister McEntee is proposing to cabinet to reduce the length of time that children born in Ireland have to be resident in the country before they can claim citizenship. She has decided to do this by way of avoiding referendum, by going straight to cabinet and then straight to legislation. This really is one of the more outrageous acts of defiance of the Irish people by its own government, because here there is no question of “not knowing what the Irish people think about it.” We know what the Irish people think about it. The only time they had an opportunity to vote upon it, 79 per cent of the Irish electorate voted for a proposal quite different from what Ms. McEntee is bringing to the cabinet and presumably then to Dáil Éireann and the Oireachtas.

Bringing up this citizenship question again at such a time is most unhelpful in and of itself but it has let loose also, the disingenuous dribblings of liberal progressives against authentic Irish nationalists; that is those who believe in Irish nationality for Irish people and Irish citizenship based on Irish nationality. They ask such idiotic drivel questions as “Where do the Tuatha Dé Danann fit into your modern conception of citizenship in Ireland in 2021?” This question is of course nonsense. It makes no more sense than asking whether the Tuatha Dé Danann would have a Facebook page today and who would be running it? It makes no more sense than asking would the Great O’Neill have his YouTube channel taken from him for inciting violence during the Nine Years War? It makes no more sense than asking if Arthur Griffith would be banned off Twitter for the targeted harassment of a minority? It is an idiot question. Where the Irish people came from and what makes up the Irish people as they are currently constituted as an ethnicity, is neither here nor there. We are what we are, and the question is before us with the entire immigration debate, even beyond the question of citizenship. The question is whether we want to remain the type of people that we currently are. How we got to this point is a complicated history and we know that. It is not relevant and the liberals are being disingenuous when they engage in these arguments. They know it has no meaning.

I would suggest that authentic Irish nationalists identify, as quickly as possible, bad actors in this debate; people who have no actual intention of trying to find facts, figures or data in making up their minds. They have already made up their minds; there is no such thing as the Irish Nation or if there is such a thing as the Irish Nation, it is not worth preserving. We should identify them quickly and move on. And we should move on under the firm principle –which is the principle that the National Party holds as regards citizenship –that firstly it is merely a legal concept and a relatively recent one. In so far as the Roman Empire had a concept of citizenship, for example, they bound it together with nationality, and in so far as nationality and citizenship were not one, the Roman Empire began its fall. But that is classical history and not really relevant for the 2021 debate anymore than the Tuatha Dé Danann. We must look at citizenship in the context of the modern world, and in the modern world the National Party believes that it is nationality that is at the core of what it means to be Irish, not citizenship. Citizenship is merely a legal document. Citizenship is a set of legal rights that are conferred through the constitution, itself only a legal document binding only as long as the legal authority which put it in place is binding. Nationality, on the other hand, is at the very core of who we are. It cannot be conferred by law, it cannot be removed by law, it is bound up with our very identity, and it is ethnic and can only be ethnic

The Nation, the State and the Problem of Citizenship

Freedom, Pearse said, is something that can be lost and won again but nationality once lost can never be won back. It is like a dead man. He shall not ever rise again. So the National Party is very clear in understanding –as Pearse understood it and as all Irish nationalists understood it until recently –that nationality is ethnic; that it is based on genetic blood inheritance, shared history, culture, tradition, cultural affinity and a willingness to sacrifice for the thing called Ireland. That is something you will find no Liberal is ever willing to do; make an actual sacrifice for Ireland. But it is bound above all else, not so much with citizenship but with ethnicity. That is Irish nationhood. That is what it means to be Irish. If all of these are absent, a person has no Irish nationality and no law in the world can confer upon them Irish nationality. Citizenship, to be sure, as far as it is based on positive law, can be given to pretty much anybody on the face of the planet. Citizenship, to be sure, as far as it is based on positive law, can be given to pretty much anybody on the face of the planet. However, we would suggest —in fact we would strongly suggest —that it be only in very rare circumstances that nationality and citizenship are apart.

It is difficult in an era of globalism to imagine that a nation can survive without the protection of at least a nominal State. This is quite clear in Ireland, above all, when we see that we have a treasonous government who have no intention of protecting Irish nationality. With transient migratory patterns in place anyway, we also have the push for mass-immigration coming from a vast number of government funded “NGOs”, ironically “Non-Governmental Organisations” whose primary source of income is in fact the government, and they are pushing an agenda; an agenda of replacing the Irish people. Now, they will say that this phrase “the great replacement” is only used by racists; that it is only used by people to stir up fear; that it is only used by people to stir up division and hatred. But the fact of the matter is that the phrase “great replacement” shouldn’t be a debatable thing at all. It is simply quite obvious. If in a hundred years from now, the overwhelming majority of people on this island are not direct blood descendants of the people who now live upon this island, then we can say for definite that we have been replaced. Now, whether that is a conspiracy is a question of individual responsibility; who were involved, to what extent were they involved, to what extent were they paid off? That’s the conspiracy, if you like. I don’t know and I don’t care. It’s not a theory. If the vast majority of the Irish people in a hundred years time, or if the vast majority of people living on this island are not genetically related, are not directly descended from the the Irish people who are here today, we will have been replaced. That is all that is suggested by the phrase “great replacement.” How it is even a matter for debate is beyond me.

Now this may be of no matter to you. “Culturally enriched” you might say we will be under such circumstances, and Ireland may still be called Ireland and the Irish people may still be called the Irish people, regardless of the absence of “the last true Gael” that Pearse talked about. If so — if you are one of those people who say “it doesn’t matter” — then also please stop whinging about the Aboriginals of Australia and the Maoris of New Zealand or the non-European natives of the North American continent, because let’s face it, they were “culturally enriched.” They were “culturally enriched” to the point where they no longer had a country to live in. But you say “it doesn’t matter.” To nationalists it matters a lot and I imagine to those native peoples it matters a lot too, but then when you’re on the receiving end of a “great replacement” — when you actually feel a fellow feeling with your own nation and people — then it is an unpleasant experience to be detached, atomised, liberalised, progressivised to the point where you have no connection with any other human being on this earth, and certainly no connection with family, community or nationhood, until nothing but the material matters and you conceive then of nationality in a material sense whereas, as Pearse said, it is a spiritual thing.

As I said, citizenship can be conferred on a non-national but if it is done on any great scale it creates a problem, because political power within the Nation State rests on those who have citizenship and exercise it through their citizenship. How are we going to have the State protect the Nation if the vast majority of the citizens of the State do not have Irish nationality? That’s not a problem for the globalists. They want it that way. But it is a problem if you care about Ireland and the Irish people. In the long run, the conferring of citizenship on non-nationals must become very, very rare indeed and should involve at least some special service to the State; some special service to Ireland. And even then we are talking about conferring citizenship on like ethnicities. In the first instance, for example, we will be looking to the diaspora for any immigration that we need because they are our own people; simply living abroad by however many generations. Secondly we will be looking to those people who are most easily assimilated into the Irish Nation as it is. Even in the case of these people, and we are talking essentially about foreigners, the conferral of Irish citizenship upon them would be a rare event indeed, and certainly not what we have today; paper citizenship handed out like confetti.

This is the “Paper Irish” phenomenon which I have talked about before; people who have no connection with this country other than that they have lived here for an arbitrary length of time. Under the proposals that Ms. McEntee is bringing forward to the Cabinet first and then the Dáil, that will become a much shorter length of time, hardly indeed any time at all in order to become “Irish.” Really? Do they think any of us are fooled by this? Do they think that any of the non-nationals are suddenly “Irishified” by their nonsense or that they don’t take us in fact for fools? Who else but fools would hand them full political citizenship and full political rights over the direction of a Nation State that is foreign to them and towards which they repeatedly express great hostility? They talk endlessly about how they are the victims of imaginary racism and imaginary discrimination while they are placed ahead of Irish people for housing and for many social welfare benefits, and while the Irish homeless— citizens and all —are not granted their natural rights of nationality, which is to say, at the very least to have basic care taken of them by the Irish Nation and in turn be asked to give a duty of service to the Irish Nation. It is a matter of responsibility and duty to have citizenship and it comes from nationality.

If citizenship is granted to non-nationals on a large scale, then the Nation in a very short period of time becomes deprived of the protection of the State. Now, we have in the past as an Irish people, managed to survive without the protection of the State, indeed under direct attack from the State, in particular in colonial times under British Rule. That is exactly why the Tuatha Dé Danann are not relevant and past history is not relevant to the question of citizenship today. A nation could survive in a time when there wasn’t huge transient global migration. A nation could survive under foreign government. That is no longer possible. We require a native Irish government to protect a native Irish Nation and a native Irish State. So we need to change the current government, that much is obvious. That will change in Ireland or Ireland will die, and the National Party are determined that Ireland will live.

This brings us to the current debate which will be focused on very narrow terms, and once again we will hear all the epithets of “racist” and “xenophobe” and “far right” and “fascist” etc etc., so dull, so lifeless and so bland at this stage. They will all be brought out again against anyone who is in defence of Irish nationality. If the Minister has the courage of her convictions, then she will at least bring this proposal before the Irish people for referendum. If the National Party has a very restrictive view of where citizenship should be conferred –a much more restrictive view than the current law –we would not bring that into being without first consulting the Irish people. Neither this Minister nor this government have any right to move forward with such dramatic changes in our conception of what is required for citizenship without re-consulting the Irish people. In fact what is required is a much broader referendum on the question of whether Irish people want mass-immigration at all. It is our belief that isolated from other questions and dealt with on its own that the overwhelming majority of Irish people will agree with the National Party position on this issue even if they don’t necessarily vote for National Party candidates.

The Citizenship Referendum of 2004 and its Implications

I now wish to consult the record of the Seanad in which the then Minister for Justice —who introduced the referendum in 2004 and the legislation which followed —Mr. Michael McDowell, explained that it was not for the national interest that the referendum had been brought forward nor the legislation restricting citizenship been proposed. He had something very interesting to say and I think we need to think about it in the context of the modern situation too. He said on Wednesday, 1 December, 2004 in the Seanad under questioning from Senator David Norris, “I believe I have acted reasonably in all of these matters, as has the Government. If we had not enacted this legislation, the opportunity for right-wing racism to enter Irish politics would have been enormous. Our system, like most systems in the northern European political world, is wide open for people to campaign on anti-immigration issues. It is very strange that Holland, Denmark and other countries, which we would regard as bastions of liberalism, have seen the emergence of a revanchist right achieving quite significant parliamentary representation because of a perception that the society was somehow inadequate in its response to internal migration. Irish people should reflect on the fact that the few people who put their heads up over the parapet with the intent to exploit race in an electoral context, in the European parliamentary and local elections, got nowhere. They did not register […] One only has to look at what happened to the candidacy of Justin Barrett in the Leinster constituency to see that there is no rich seam of votes to be obtained by exploiting race or fears about immigration. This is an encouraging feature.”

Now, I would take issue with the Minister’s accusation of “exploiting racism” as opposed to “protecting the Irish people”. The only racism that is evident in Ireland over the past few years is a virulent anti-Irish racism which is directed against the Irish people and the Irish Nation and funded by the Irish government. But I can vindicate him in this respect, that although I received 2.4 per cent of the vote and almost 11,000 first preference votes in that campaign, it was an almighty disappointment to me, because time and time again I heard from people —prospective voters — that although they agreed with me on the question of mass-immigration and although they would otherwise have voted for me, they considered that the referendum was enough and the citizenship bill produced by Mr. Michael McDowell was enough. “The government are taking care of that now and there’s no longer any need for your candidacy.” I have no doubt whatsoever that Michael McDowell is absolutely correct in crediting the result, disappointing as it was for myself in the Leinster Constituency in 2004, directly to the fact that the Citizen referendum or more precisely the referendum to restrict citizenship from foreign nationals, was held upon the same day as the European elections. And so he is correct. It counteracted people’s concerns. I said at the time that it would not deal with the central issue. But the perception, as he said, was different. The important thing was that they were perceived to be doing something about it.

Now, if you’re going to look at it then I suggest you look at it this way. Let’s reverse Mr. McDowell’s words in the context of what the current Minister for Justice is proposing. He says that had we not enacted this legislation (which Minister McEntee is now going to un-enact) “the opportunity for right-wing racism to enter Irish politics would have been enormous.” Or will it be enormous? We would see the “emergence of a revanchist right, achieving quite significant parliamentary representation because of a perception that the society was somehow inadequate in its response to internal migration. Irish people should reflect on the fact that the few people who put up their heads above the parapet with the intent to exploit race in the electoral context in European parliamentary and Local Elections got nowhere.” In other words, we were foiled in Minister McDowell’s belief. We were foiled by his citizenship referendum. Now, while I do not accept and cannot accept his accusation of exploiting race as an issue —that is done by other people, not me —it is a fact that the votes that I received in that election in 2004 were very much diminished by the Minister’s actions and he is correct.

One then has to wonder what will happen if Ms. McEntee goes ahead and has her way, doesn’t present it to the Irish people, changes citizenship, recreates the situation where there are anchor babies, recreates the situation in which mass-immigration is made possible through pregnant women arriving from all over the world to ensure that their children gain Irish citizenship and that they then can gain Irish citizenship through their children… because that’s what she’s proposing to do. She is proposing to look the Irish people straight in the face, who 4 to 1 voted in favour of the only restriction they were ever allowed on mass-immigration, and say without any referendum at all, without re-consulting you in any way, without taking into account popular opinion, without any democratic vote of any kind, “I am going to overturn the people’s will and I am going to do it with Cabinet approval, through the Dáil and the Oireachtas without ever asking you one single question about the matter.” I wonder what Mr. McDowell thinks will happen?

The National Party has no interest in political gain from something that does harm to the Irish Nation but it is a fact that the electoral prospects of an anti-immigration party will rise in the context of a relaxation in immigration rules, especially in a context in which that is done in defiance of the democratic will of the people. And those liberals out there, those progressives, who think the Minister hasn’t gone far enough, who think she should go further, and think she should go further again without consulting the Irish people… they should think about this… they should stay awake about it… think about it tomorrow… stay awake about it again… They should think about the fire that Ms. McEntee is about to light and think about how they’re going to put it out once it takes flame.

Justin Barrett
Ceannaire an Pháirtí Náisiúnta