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The Explainer: Why is the 27th Amendment back in the news?

We speak to an expert about what the amendment was, and why Labour is proposing a Bill related to it.

IN 2004, THE Irish population voted overwhelmingly to insert the 27th Amendment into the Constitution of Ireland.

The amendment meant that the constitutional right to Irish citizenship of people born on the island of Ireland would now be limited to Irish citizens. What this meant was children of non-Irish citizens would no longer be entitled to birthright citizenship. 

The amendment came back into the spotlight two years ago, when there were two high-profile cases of children facing deportation due to their status.

That same year, Labour introduced a bill called the Irish Nationality and Citizenship (Naturalisation of Minors Born in Ireland) Bill 2018.

This bill proposes to amend the law to enable children who are born in Ireland and who have lived here for three years to be considered for naturalisation as an Irish citizen, irrespective of the status of their parents.

It does not require a second referendum. 

The bill was passed through the Second Stage in the Seanad by a majority of Senators, including Fianna Fáil and the Green Party, but not Fine Gael Senators.

Labour is now bringing the Bill back before the Seanad in the first week of December and the party is calling on the current Government to support it. 

To talk us through what the 27th Amendment is, the background to its introduction, and what Labour’s bill would mean, we speak to Hilary Hogan on this week’s episode. Hogan is a doctoral researcher who has written a paper on the topic of the 27th Amendment Referendum.

Background reading:

The Explainer / SoundCloud

This episode was put together by presenter Sinéad O’Carroll, executive producer Christine Bohan, producer Aoife Barry, producer and technical operator Nicky Ryan. Guest was Hilary Hogan.

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