4 January 2007 Edition
Touching Long Kesh visit
It might seem strange that a group of people, including young people, would take time out in Christmas week and travel over a hundred miles to visit a jail. It would be strange unless you knew the significance of Long Kesh in the struggle for Irish freedom. For people like me who lived through those years it was like visiting the epicentre of resistance. What was really amazing was how impressed and moved the young people were. Most people in the group weren’t even born at the time of the Hunger Strike and yet, absolutely everyone was touched by the experience.
All of us in our time have visited places of historical significance but what made this special was to be in the company of two ex-POWs who had lived through the experience. May I take this opportunity to thank the two ex-POWs in question — Seán McCotter and Kevin Carson for their wonderful accounts of their own time in the prison. Again and again on the journey home, people commented on the remarks they made as we went through the prison. It was their insights and memories that made for a very special event. It was all the little details which made the trip so real and the history so alive. I’d also like to on behalf of the cumann thank Chopper McCotter and the staff at Coiste in Belfast — Rosena and Mickey in particular, and Ciarán Quinn for their assistance.
Thank you to all the aforementioned.
Óglach Joe McDonnell Cumann,
Baile Átha Cliath.
Irish diaspora being denied Irish citizenship
Under Irish Nationality law created in 1956 anyone with a Great-Grandparent, Grandparent, or Parent who was from Ireland would be eligible for citizenship by descent. This simply entails getting records showing your link to Ireland and filling out an application with the Irish Consulate. Once that is done you are then an Irish Citizen.
However in 1984 the law was changed and members of the Irish Diaspora whose closest link to Ireland is a Great-Grandparent no longer qualify for citizenship by descent.
As the years go by, less and less of the Irish Diaspora will have grandparents who were born in Ireland. The people who left Ireland over the years left due to different reasons but the majority of them left because they were facing persecution, starvation, and/or genocide.
Today The Republic of Ireland is allowing huge amounts of Non-Irish foreigners to come to Ireland but the current citizenship by descent laws are keeping Irish people out of their homeland. Why should someone from Poland be able to show up in Ireland tomorrow and start working and living there instantly, yet an Irish person from the USA doing the same would be an illegal immigrant subject to arrest and deportation?
I propose that the law be reverted to allow citizenship by descent to be claimed by those with an Irish great-grandparent and that the possibility of extending citizenship to all people with Irish ancestry be explored by the Irish government.
Until the law is reverted I myself will not be able to obtain Irish citizenship, despite the fact that I have lots of Irish ancestors, my closest link to Ireland is my Great-Grandmother who came to the USA as a child.
New Jersey, USA.