Tánaiste signals intention to support Labour Born Here Belong Here Campaign
12 November 2020
The Tánaiste has signalled the Government’s intention to support the Labour Party and Labour Youth’s Born Here Belong Here campaign for the reintroduction of birth right citizenship after Labour Leader Alan Kelly raised the issue at Leader’s Questions.
Speaking at Leaders Questions, Deputy Kelly said:
“The 27th Amendment was brought forward in 2004 by Fianna Fáil and supported by Fine Gael in opposition and it needs to be withdrawn or we need to bring in legislation to ensure it is neutralised and we can give a pathway to the children who are born here to get citizenship in this country when their parents are born outside this state.
“It is completely wrong that such children can’t get passports and have problems accessing higher education or in some cases are threatened with deportation. It is wrong that children who sit side by side in school are treated differently and discriminated against.
“We have 3000 undocumented children in Ireland, these are our dreamers. We have gone through a pandemic and so many of our healthcare workers come from outside this State and I have met some of them who’s children are born in this State and these children don’t have the same rights as the children they set beside at school.
“The pandemic has given us a chance to breath and think about what is really important to us. I think that the children of those workers deserve to be treated equally. It is not good enough that if you have a Minister in your constituency that you can get a deportation order revoked for a child.
“My colleague Senator Ivana Bacik has legislation in the Seanad to deal with this issue. This is a campaign that the Labour Party has initiated, that has been led by Labour Youth. I am asking the Government to support this so that our 3000 dreamers get their rightful place in this country.
“Last December we lost the Chairperson of Labour Youth Cormac O Braonáin, an amazing man, someone who had a huge impact on all of us in the Labour Party. His number one political objective was to ensure that children born here with parents who were not born here would have this pathway to citizenship.
“This is the right time to deal with this issue, we all know there are children in Direct Provision who belong here and that the number of cases is only going to grow. Given your very welcome comments, I am asking you to seriously look at the legislation my colleague Senator Bacik will bring before the Seanad and to support it.
Senator Bacik added:
“Yesterday in the Seanad, I called on the Leader and Deputy Leader of the House to secure Government support for this important Bill when it returns to the Seanad on the 2nd December. The signals from the Tánaiste in the Dáil today are encouraging indeed. This is an issue which affects very few people in this country. However, for those children and families who are impacted, the effect is devastating. We in Labour believe that Ireland can and should be more generous in its approach to citizenship.”