Some thoughts on Irish Citizenship for a British person

As a British person living in Ireland, I am afforded all the “freedom of movement” rights of EU citizens to work and live wherever I want in Europe.

I am free to reside and work in Ireland, and can travel without restriction in and out of the country. I don’t need to apply for visas or work permits, unlike non-EU migrants. And as such, I’m treated pretty-much as if I was an Irish citizen.

The freedoms are so universal that it’s hard to come up with many tangible differences between being an Irish or EU citizen. Here’s the only restrictions I can find:

  • I’m not allowed to vote in Presidential elections
  • I’m not allowed to vote in any referendum votes
  • I can’t stand as Irish President, or become a member of the Dáil or Seanad

I place quite a lot of value on the voting rights – as I’ve missed out on numerous referendums since moving here – and I feel a bit disenfranchised by not being able to vote on constitutional changes that will have a direct effect upon my life.

But are the voting rights on their own worth the €1,125 naturalisation fees, and the 6 months of bureaucracy and paperwork?

Personal Experience

For the last couple of years I’ve been pondering the idea becoming an Irish citizen. I’ve been living here over 8 years, my wife is Irish, and Ireland looks like it’ll be my home for the foreseeable future. I have deepening roots in this country, and yet sometimes I still feel like a foreigner.

I don’t know if citizenship will help me feel more Irish. I guess my British accent will always set me apart from those who grew up in Ireland. But maybe an Irish passport will help me feel less of an outsider.

Any maybe how I “feel” is what it all comes down to. With few tangible benefits, the major driving force to go for naturalisation would be to feel more at home.

The Numbers

I was hunting around the web for some statistics about the number of British people that apply to Irish naturalisation, but couldn’t find any breakdown of naturalisation by country. The naturalisation numbers just don’t appear to be published anywhere, which seems strange.

There are loads of figures about immigration , and the census breaks down the population by country of origin. Indeed, the last census recorded 390,000 EU nationals resident in Ireland, which amounts to about 8% of the population.  But I suspect that the number of those people applying for Irish citizenship is tiny.

3 thoughts on “Some thoughts on Irish Citizenship for a British person

  1. Hey Richard,

    I follow your blog since last year and I find your posts quite interesting, especially this one.

    I have been reading a lot about immigration since I came to Ireland, I’m a non-EU citizen from Venezuela so I’m living here under Stamp 1 and work permit for now, so for me is kind of mandatory to be updated with everything related to the subject.

    Reading your post I notice you are not concerning about rumours of possible withdrawal of the UK from the EU or even a possible rupture of the whole union, even I don’t know what effect might have this on EU citizens living in other EU countries.

    I noticed since I came here that press on this part of the world is a little bit sensationalist/yellow maybe. I would like to know your opinion about this subject if you don’t mind.

    Cheers

    1. Hi Robert. I know that the planned UK referendum to leave the EU won’t take place until at least 2017.

      I’m not sure that people in Britain really want to leave the EU. I’m pretty sure the referendum would fail. But even if it passed, it would take some time to come into effect – a year or more.

      It’s certainly something to keep an eye on. Thanks for commenting. Richard

  2. Well, the UK voted yesterday to leave the EU, so I guess that increases the doubt about my position here in Ireland. I can’t see the Irish government expelling the approx 250,000 Brits living here, but we may be required to all apply for work/residence permits.

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