Thursday, March 01, 2007


Great idea Gregory!

The shit-stirrer himself I was quite surprised at the anger and hostility on Slugger O'Toole directed towards resident DUP shit-stirrer Gregory Campbell over his latest idea.

As UTV report, Mr Campbell believes that red tape is holding back thousands of Irish people born in the southern half of Ireland, now residing in the north of Ireland, from taking up British citizenship. tape eh?

Only 270 people out of an estimated population of 40,000 applied for British naturalised status, prompting Campbell to remark:

"There are thousands who want this and would be entitled to it.

"They regard themselves as British culturally, but just happen to have been born on the wrong side of the border."

He adds:

"The fact that the Home Office has confirmed only 270 applied for naturalised status last year proves the point. It's all the more reason to change the legislation to become British citizens.

"If nationalists are entitled to Irish status then the same should be the case the other way round.

"This is a parity issue."

Mr Campbell suspects the low number is based on bureaucracy - rather than a lack of interest which is my guess - but what I found most surprising were the comments from Slugger contributors regarding the matter. Comments such as these:

Henry94 -

"Does everyone in Britain have the right to be Irish? Or French?"

People have the right to be whatever they want. If there was a situation where it made sense to allow people in Britain have French citizenship I don't see the problem.

"There is an issue in the north not in the rest of the country."

I disagree, and I'll touch on why below.

Harry (last name might be Hill I don't know...) -

"I’m getting really sick and tired of this shit. We need to throw the british off this island so that we are no longer subject to these colonial buffoons and their self-regarding utterly disingenuous sophistry."

Dear oh dear. Colonial buffoons? Some people need to take their heads out of the past. There are people on this island who regard themselves as British. Far from "throwing them off" (what a dumb thing to say) we who desire a united Irish state should instead seek ways of acknowledging and respecting this identity to make future integration a smooth process.

I was impressed by this comment from Observer who said:

"This is something that has been going on for too long.

"People living in the Republic should be entitled to British citzenship. This should have been recognised back in 1998. Due credit to Campbell for continuing to raise this issue.

"However I see difficulties ahead. The Irish government will refuse to accept this, why? Because they refuse to accept dual nationality themselves and indeed the British identity as being Irish. In short it messes up their definition of ‘Irishness’; which is a regional identity within the British Isles. One can be Irish, yet hold a British passport. Thats the way it should be!"

I take issue with his claim that Irishness is a "regional identity within the British Isles" as it is clearly not, but to get back to the issue - I do believe it makes a lot of sense to allow people in the Republic be able to apply for British passports.

Gregory Campbell is interested in making it easier for people born in the Republic, now living in NI, to obtain British citizenship but it would be a wise move in my opinion for the two governments to go further and make it possible for all people on the island to obtain British passports if that is their wish.

Judging by current statistics, I doubt many in the Republic would avail of this opportunity but it would be an impressive gesture on the part of the south.

There's a more prudent reason for this measure though - when, not if, our island is reunified, we will need to introduce a scheme such as this one to cater for those who feel British to continue to do so.

Why not pave the way for this right now? There's no good reason not to. There is no need for anyone to feel threatened by such a measure. This will help advance the case for a United Ireland.

Gregory Campbell should be commended for raising this matter. I've no doubt whatsoever that Campbell brought this up to cause trouble, but in actual fact a lot of good can come of this.

Let's push for such measures right now - I can't see how the DUP and Gregory Campbell can argue against it.


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