Thursday, 17 January 2019
Irish Nationality and Citizenship (Restoration of Birthright Citizenship) Bill 2017: Second Stage [Private Members]
The enactment of this Bill would represent a reversion to an older system which was unfit for purpose. This was the opinion of the masters of our maternity hospitals, as referred to by Deputy O'Callaghan. It was also the opinion of the Irish people when put to them in a referendum. Comparatively speaking we have a relatively open immigration and citizenship regime. Since 2010, 130,000 individuals have been granted citizenship. These new citizens are living actively in our communities. Just over 27,000 children, the vast majority of whom were born to non-EEA nationals, have become citizens of Ireland through naturalisation, which demonstrates in real terms the results of effective compliance with our current legal pathways to citizenship. The existing arrangements are fair and work for all who respect and comply with our laws.
I regret that the Government cannot support this Bill but welcome the opportunity to discuss it. I acknowledge what Deputy O'Loughlin stated. I also thank the sponsoring Deputies for providing an opportunity to debate these issues. Such debate must be based on facts and not on conjecture, speculation or ideology.