Irish Nationality and Citizenship (Naturalisation of Minors Born in Ireland) Bill 2018 returns to Seanad Committee Stage

2 December 2020

Holding the Born Here Belong Here frame

  • The Irish Nationality and Citizenship (Naturalisation of Minors Born in Ireland) Bill 2018 returns to Committee Stage in the Seanad at 4:00pm today, having passed Second Stage in the Seanad in November 2018.
  • The debate will adjourn after one hour to enable a discussion with the Department of Justice and the Minister of Justice about the provisions of the Bill.
  • The Bill will return for adjourned Committee Stage in the Seanad during Government time in January 2021.

Today, Wednesday 2nd December, the Labour Party’s Irish Nationality and Citizenship (Naturalisation of Minors Born in Ireland) Bill 2018 will return to Committee Stage in the Seanad. The debate will adjourn after one hour to enable a discussion with the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and her officials, prior to the return of the Bill for adjourned Committee Stage with further amendments in January 2021.

Speaking on the bill, Labour Seanad Group Leader and spokesperson on Children, Disability, Equality and Integration, Senator Ivana Bacik said,

“This important Bill seeks to regularise the status of children who were born in Ireland but who face deportation because they currently have no pathway to citizenship.

“Constitutional provision for automatic entitlement to citizenship on birth was removed by way of the 27th Amendment to the Constitution and the subsequent legislation which was passed in 2004. The  Amendment explicitly empowers the Oireachtas to legislate for citizenship entitlements – up to and including birthright citizenship.

“Our proposal is simply to provide a pathway to legal citizenship for children who were born in Ireland to non-national parents, following three years of residency in Ireland and regardless of the legal status of their parents.

“This change does not require another referendum and can be achieved through legislation.

“I welcome the engagement I have had with Minster McEntee on our Labour Bill, and look forward to liaising with her and her officials to progress the legislation further early in 2021.

“At present, Ireland has a generous legal approach to citizenship based on the principle of blood-ties. Indeed, a person who has never lived in Ireland may claim citizenship on the basis of the nationality of an Irish parent or grandparent.

“Labour is proposing a modest change in policy with this Bill, to introduce a similarly compassionate approach to children who were born here. The children whom this Bill seeks to help were born here, go to school here, consider Ireland their home, and are as much a part of Irish society as anyone else; yet they may currently be considered as stateless and lack any access to a legal route to Irish citizenship. It is sensible that they should enjoy citizenship rights, as children born here to Irish parents do.

“Passing this Bill would also recognise the immense contribution made by the so-called ‘New Irish’ community. As my grandfather left Czechoslovakia after World War II to come to Ireland and establish Waterford Crystal here, I can attest first-hand to the benefits of integration!

“I look forward to the debate later this afternoon and I look forward to working with the Government and my Labour colleagues to bring about this important change to the law. All children who are born in Ireland should be entitled to remain in Ireland.”

ENDS

Text of Article 9.2.1 of the Constitution following 2004 Referendum: 2 1° Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, a person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, who does not have, at the time of the birth of that person, at least one parent who is an Irish citizen or entitled to be an Irish citizen is not entitled to Irish citizenship or nationality, unless provided for by law.

Link to the Bill: https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/bill/2018/124/eng/initiated/b12418s.pdf