Only Irish Need Apply

Monday, June 14, 2004 - 03:43 PM

40 million Americans claim Irish descent, and many of them can also claim Irish citizenship. That's because Irish law grants the grandchild of any Irish citizen the automatic right to become Irish too. For many years, it was a sentimental gesture of little real value to anyone.

But today, with one of the best economies in Europe, Ireland has become a magnet for immigrants from Eastern Europe and Asia. A country of net emigration has become a hot immigration destination, and the children of those immigrants born in Ireland have been considered Irish under the law.

Until last Sunday. That's when a majority of Irish voted to do away with "birthright" citizenship and impose a system closer to the European norm, where linguistic ability and the intention to reside in the country must be proven.

On the show today, we discussed the matter with Carol Coulter, legal affairs correspendent for the Irish Times. While many of our listeners thought the move churlish, others felt a small country like Ireland had to do something to protect its traditions. Listener feedback.

On the show tomorrow: British Muslim comedienne Shazi Mirza.

Let's not forget that the Irish culture that we know today was formed in part by the intrusion of the Roman St. Patrick into the indigenous Celtic culture.

My very liberal relatives in my native Netherlands are struggling with this very thing, in particular in connection with extremist Islam and the criminality
of young Arab immigrants. While the Netherlands seamlessly absorbed
Indonesians who chose to become Dutch at Indonesia's independence, this
is a whole other issue and has too many ramifications to go into.

Does that include descendants of slaves who were raped by their Irish owners? Thanks for your time...


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