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More than 70% of people think being born in Ireland should mean an automatic right to citizenship

The right was removed in a 2004 referendum.

The case of Eric Zhi Ying Mei Xue brought the issue to national attention.
The case of Eric Zhi Ying Mei Xue brought the issue to national attention.
Image: Please Help Eric

A NEW POLL has shown that more than seven in ten people are in favour of an automatic right to Irish citizenship for people born here, a right that was removed by a 2004 referendum.

The poll, conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes and published in today’s Sunday Times, comes on the back of a number of high-profile cases of children facing deportation.

Among them the case of nine-year-old Eric Zhi Ying Mei Xue, who was born in Ireland but faced deportation after his mother’s appeal against deportation was rejected. 

Following the 2004 citizenship referendum, children born in Ireland are only entitled to automatic citizenship if at least one of their parents is a citizen or is entitled to be.

That referendum was passed by 79% in favour but today’s poll suggests that opinion may have shifted. 

Asked about the rules on citizenship, 71% said they believed being born here should automatically entitle a person to citizenship while 19% said it should not and 10% said they either didn’t know or had no opinion. 

State of the parties

The same opinion poll also showed a jump in support for Sinn Féin an its leader Mary Lou McDonald TD.

The poll put support for Sinn Féin at 23%, up four points on the previous poll, with satisfaction for McDonald up two points for 48%

Fine Gael remains the most popular party with 30% support despite a marginal drop in support. 

The full results are as follows:

  • Fine Gael – 30% (-1)
  • Fianna Fáil – 27% (=)
  • Sinn Féin – 23% (+4)
  • Others/Independents – 9% (=)
  • Labour – 6% (=)
  • Sol/PBP – 2% (=)
  • Ind. Alliance- 1% (-1)
  • Green Party – 1% (-1)
  • Social Democrats- 1% (+ 1)

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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