THIS must the worse constitutional referendum of all time. I can’t remember when one side of a debate so completely failed to put together any coherent arguments.
The issue is pretty simple. Currently the constitution states that anyone born on the island of Ireland is entitled to Irish citizenship. Some people have arranged the birth of their children to coincide with a visit to Ireland in order to obtain Irish citizenship for their children.
The Government is proposing replacing this provision with one that says citizenship will only be available to the babies of those who are currently entitled to Irish citizenship.
I can’t say I’m brimming with enthusiasm for this change but it seems pretty reasonable to me. I can’t for the life of me see who’s being disadvantaged by this law.
It won’t be applied retrospectively so that babies born here already will be covered by the old law. And in the future, everyone will be aware of the new situation so that no false hopes will be dashed.
Under the legislation, any person working here for more than three years can apply to become Irish citizens anyway.
But the opponents of this change have come up with some of the most pointless and vacuous arguments in the history of Irish politics.
Some, for example, say that the incidence of abuse of this law is very low. What a cretinous argument for not having a law. So when the number of bank robberies fall below, say ten, we’ll abolish the law on bank robberies?
Then we have the “racists will vote for this” argument. Great. Now we have to live our lives in opposition to racists. If racists read newspapers, we’ll have to ban newspapers. If racists use light bulbs, we’ll have to ban light bulbs.
Then there’s the “sending out the wrong signals” argument. Because this referendum is about migration any tightening of the law means that we’re xenophobic. That is an argument against having any immigration laws. Yet, every country on the planet has immigration laws.
By the same token the current provision, which all these liberals seemingly support, is equally xenophobic and racist, as are all laws aimed at defining who is Irish and who isn’t.
Then there’s the piece-de-la-hypocrisy of them all: “we don’t need this change, because we have the Supreme Court decision”. The one that they are referring to is the one where the parents of Irish citizens can be legally deported. Never in the history of the Irish state was such a despicably unjust law passed or approved. That law should be scrapped today.
Here’s my argument: If we are going to have migration laws then they should be fair and rational. It is not rational to give out Irish citizenship on the basis that someone has the means to make it to Ireland in order to give birth here. Having such a law of chance or luck undermines the value of Irish citizenship and it is not a transparent or truthful way of deciding who should be entitled to citizenship. Furthermore, I have racked my brains and I can’t think of anyone who will be unfairly disadvantaged by this change. Vote yes.