Calls to make all people born here Irish citizens

15/01/2019 - 12:59

By Elaine Loughlin
A campaign to ensure that everyone born in Ireland is entitled to Irish citizenships is underway after a number of high profile attempts to deport children.

The Dáil is to debate a Bill which would restore the eligibility of all people born here to claim citizenship.

The solidarity group, who are bringing forward the Bill say it would undo the "Trump-style citizenship laws" which came into force following the 2004 referendum on the matter.

In October, there was widespread criticism after it emerged that Eric Zhi Ying Xue, a nine-year-old boy living in Bray, Co Wicklow, was facing the threat of deportation to China, despite having been born in Ireland.

Eric Zhi Ying Xue

"All children should have equal access to citizenship regardless of their background," said Solidarity TD Paul Murphy.

He said the most recent case of Eric had outraged an entire community in Bray.

"At the time the Minister for Health Simon Harris said that Eric is Irish and has the same basis of being in the Wicklow community as he did. Our Bill now gives Minister Harris the opportunity to end any further cases of Irish-born children being deported.

Speaking ahead of a Dáil debate on the issue on Thursday, Gino Kenny said the vast majority of people would find it "absurd" to deport a child who has lived in Ireland all their lives.

He also dismissed the notion that more people would travel to Ireland if the law is relaxed.

Solidarity press conferences on migrant rights groups and asylum seekers. Chairperson of Migrant Women Sandra Ruit, Solidarity TD Paul Murphy Silbaziso Ndlovu(Tina) and Gino Kenny at a press conference on migrant rights groups and asylum seekers in Buswells Hotel Dublin. Photo: Leah Farrell/

"The idea that hundreds of thousands of people are going to come here for citizenship is ridiculous," he said.

Tina Ndlovu, who has been living in direct provision for the past three years highlighted the fact that her son doesn't have Irish citizenship despite being born here.

"I am first and foremost concerned about kids who face deportations. They are Irish in reality, they are even learning Irish in school, they have adjusted to Irish culture. However, they are denied Irish citizenship," she said.

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