An Irish woman's social, political and domestic commentary
Tuesday, May 18, 2004  


An opinion by the European Court of Justice on the Chen case came today which gives FF and Herr McD the opportunity to claim it is a vindication of their referendum on citizenship. However their interpretation of the case is incorrect.

In the case, Mrs Chen, who lived in Wales with her husband and one child, became pregnant and lawyers advised her to give birth in Belfast since this would confer Irish citizenship on the child and therefore right of residency in any EU country. Mrs Chen did so, but the British government challenged her right to residency anyway.

The government says this is proof that our citizenship laws are flawed and that they are under pressure from other EU governments to close this loophole. However, Minister Mary Coughlan on RTE's News at One today was unable to name ANY EU country that had in fact asked us to change our laws. Prof. William Binchy on Today FM meanwhile said that the decision had more to do EU residency law than Irish citizenship. He also stressed how FF have always claimed the EU can never force us to change our constitution (a fact made much of during our various divorce and abortion referenda and the reason for the unncessary declaration in the Amsterdam Treaty) so why are they suddenly claiming they have to change the law because of the EU? Whatever happened to subsidiarity and not being forced into anything because of nasty Europeans?

Furthermore the Chen case also took cognisance of the fact that under China's one child policy, if the Chens were forced to return to China they would face discrimination and penalties as they now have two children. Nevertheless expect this case to be exploited in favour of the referendum.

Finally, Binchy pointed out that the result of the referendum will be that the grandchild of an Irish emigrant (and ergo white) will be fully entitled to Irish citizenship while the child born to a Filipino nurse (those nurses being responsible for keeping our health service afloat) will be entitled to nothing. And the government says this is not racist. Yeah.

posted by Sarah | 22:20 0 comments
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