Thursday, 17 January 2019
Irish Nationality and Citizenship (Restoration of Birthright Citizenship) Bill 2017: Second Stage [Private Members]
Deputy Paul Murphy's Bill is timely and relevant. I first ran in the local elections in 2004. I distinctly remember being aghast when Michael McDowell first floated the idea of a referendum on citizenship. It was bogus then and it is bogus now. The effects of the referendum are felt across the country. It is absolutely absurd that a child who has gone to school here and been cared for here can be deported. I am almost embarrassed to be a citizen of a country that would try to deport a child in such a way. Somebody who is born here has a right to stay here and live here and be a citizen here. I am proud to be a citizen of the country when communities stand up and show solidarity for children or others who will be deported from the country. It makes me very proud to be from this country. The communities of people like Eric and Nonso stood shoulder to shoulder with them, which was a brilliant show of solidarity.
I will concentrate on something that has probably not been said here tonight. There is a stark contrast apparent in the issue of citizenship. It concerns the ability to buy citizenship. There are millionaires who have bought citizenship and passports. They have never lived in the country, not even for a day, yet they can buy a passport and citizenship. I find it ludicrous and absurd that as a result of wealth and to avoid tax such people can get citizenship. That scheme is continued by the Government. That situation is in stark contrast to sending a person to a country he or she has never been to. There is significant contrast between them and us, the rich and poor.
I will refer to the rise of racism across the world, how we tackle it and what we should do to prevent it. There are some elements in the country and some among elected representatives who try to whip up racism and bigotry for their own needs. It should be combatted in every sphere of life, whether in here or in the community. We stand shoulder to shoulder with anybody who will be deported as a result of the ludicrous legislation introduced in 2004. We want it repealed immediately so people will not face deportation or exile in future.