Second Class Irish?

Token citizenship?

During the past few months, I have developed a deep resentment of the nature in which I, as an Irish citizen, am treated by the establishment in the south. I have spoken to people in the public service, friends and colleagues, outlining how I feel discriminated against – that my Irish citizenship amounts to nothing more than a token gesture and that my Irishness appears to be secondary to the Irishness of someone who happened to have grown up south of the border.

Obviously this attitude has existed for years and years – I am not the first, nor will I be that last to endure such discrimination – but, it is important to note that, precedence does not legitimize it. It is an abhorrent attitude which must be vehemently challenged by all Irish citizens, particularly those from the north, if we are to take any value from our citizenship. And after all, what is a state without its citizens?

Recently, such partitionist attitudes were showcased in the media of the southern state, with many commentators stating that, while Martin McGuinness was good enough for the northern executive, he wasn’t acceptable in office in the south. In Pat Kenny’s Frontline presidential debate, an audience member rejoiced in her ignorance of the Troubles, “I don’t want to know about it.”, she happily declared to the nation.

Not only is this lady’s attitude an affront to her fellow Irish citizens on both sides of the border, her outright and wilful ignorance is an insult to the intelligence of any half-way educated person. I’m not sure how widely her views are held, but it is nevertheless worrying.

Irish citizens in the north must begin to take a much more active interest in the affairs of the Dublin government in order to encourage, nay demand, that their rights as citizens of the Irish state are upheld, that they are cherished and cared for in the same way any other Irish citizen would be, instead of being viewed as peripheral and second-class Irish.

8 Responses so far.

  1. Jude Collins says:

    Hello Ryan,

    Well-stated and I’m in agreement with what you say. It used to be worse, believe it or not. I used to do a newspaper review for the BBC in Belfast and the southern papers were just about totally ignored, so it works both ways. And if I could drop a name (CLANG), Mary McAleese in her pre-President days once told me that it wasn’t at all surprising that there were differences between people in the north and south, since both parties had grown up and lived in different states with different everythings – to that extent partition had been successful. I think most people N and S now know N’ers are pissed off. The question now is, what to do? I’d think an item-by-item approach is more likely to succeed – for example, the voting-for-Irish-president drive is looking good. Other areas where you/I feel deprived of our Irishness need identification and then pressure applied. …Must have been a good blog – see how it’s got me rambling on??

  2. Ryan Kelly says:

    Thanks for the feedback Jude.

    You make a great point – at the minute I’m so blinded by frustration that I want it all but haven’t thought about how to go about getting it.

    The overall point I was hoping to address was the need for us in the north to start forcing the issue – as you say it works both ways.

    An issue I find terribly annoying is the fact that under the Habitual Residence Conditions, an Irish citizen from the north is deemed to effectively be foreign if moving to the south to work and live – this is unacceptable.

  3. Jude Collins says:

    Why not write to, um, half-a-dozen TDs from different parties – could be the same letter – and ask them (i) what they think; and (ii) what they’re prepared to do. Then use your blog to report your findings? In my experience, there’s nothing like outside publicity for making people sharpen their attention to their duties…

  4. Anonymous says:

    What an utterly dreadful article.

    Jesus Christ.

    You feel like a second class citizen because people think Martin McGuinness is scum?

    Maybe you should feel like a second class citizen because you’re so staggeringly stupid.

  5. Ryan Kelly says:

    “Anonymous”, says it all.

  6. WP Boyce says:

    What a fantastically insightful and productive contribution by “Anonymous”.

    Clearly a person of integrity who’s bubbling with intellect.

    It’s always astonishing how little people sit behind their little computers with their little minds and spout abuse while concealing their identity to save any potential (in this case very real) risk of looking like a fool. As if the internet is not full of enough crap already.

    Funny also how they’ve missed the point of the article. I’m no fan of McGuinness and still managed to comprehend the issues raised.

  7. Ryan Kelly says:

    Cheers Paul. I made the mistake of sharing my blog on “reddit.com” and immediately I was inundated with criticism from those who, clearly, had absolutely no sympathy for Irish citizens in the north – placing us, rather, in the detached diaspora-bracket.

    I made a simple suggestion of the establishment of a unique constituency for the North, to vote on such matters as the President, constitutional referenda and so forth.

    However I was met with ad hominem. One accused me of having a “huge sense of entitlement” and discussing nothing at which point I closed my account. Excuse me for seeking to have my citizenship respected.

  8. WP Boyce says:

    Reddit can be a bit like the bridge in old fairytales. Inhabited by trolls.

    The simple fact is that some people love to hate. I think, perhaps, a reluctance to truly understand what a citizenship is meant to entitle the holder to is a factor also.

    It’s easier to bitch and point accusing fingers at the person highlighting issues with the established order of things than to intelligently engage with said person voicing their concerns.

    I genuinely believe many people enter into arguments without realising what they are saying is irrelevant to the subject matter. I’d refer you to the post by “Anonymous” above as a prime example.

    It would be funny if it were not such a sad reflection on the deluded minds of the pseudo-intellectual that masquerades as a beacon of logic. I am by no means claiming to be intellectual myself but I am confident that, when compared to the aforementioned ‘response’, I certainly don’t spout nearly as much irrelevant nonsense.

    Then again, a degree of subjectivity should be applied to that statement. I’m sure my responses are not to everyone’s taste.

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