citizenshipA conversation with close friends turned to new Irish citizens. My friends said the people recently conferred with Irish citizenship in the mass ceremonies organised by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter (some 16,000 to date) should be, and were, grateful. Shatter is to be congratulated for dealing with the backlog and, according to Metro Eireann, the majority of the new citizens were pleased with the process. Being granted citizenship is no doubt a bonus for people hitherto unable to travel freely. However, citizenship is entirely at the discretion of the Minister, there are no clear qualification criteria and no obligation to provide reasons for refusals. When I argued against the high cost of citizenship in Ireland – of which more later – I failed to persuade them, because citizenship, my friends insisted, is something valuable ‘we’ bestow upon ‘them’. Continue reading “Citizens”

A, B and C: A parable for our (neo-liberal) times

A was born shortly after the establishment of the state of Israel to a middle-class Ashkenazi Jewish family. He was an independent child who rebelled against authority – school and exam regimes were not for him. Like most Jewish (but also Palestinian-Bedouin and Palestinian-Druze) men, he joined the IDF, but once his military service was over, realizing he would not get a university place in Israel, his independence of spirit moved him to study engineering in a small US town. Since graduation he has worked on and off in a variety of managerial jobs in the armaments and construction industries. His American-born children were settled in the US so A and his wife, after one inconclusive attempt to return, and despite the longing for home, did what most migrants do and became settled in America, but socialized mostly with other Israelis.

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Equality aftermath

In the aftermath of the resignation of Niall Crowley, Chief Executive of the Equality Authority, the Minister for Justice made ‘no apologies’ for cutting the Equality Authority’s budget, privileging instead police spending. This is in line with seeing equality work as defending Irish society’s problematic marginal populations, rather than maintaining equality for all, which was what the EA was about.

Denying racism and declaring itself post- and anti-racist, Ireland, like other EU member states, in restricting immigration, limiting it to those migrants who are useful to ‘our way of life’, and castigating Travellers and poor people for not playing their part, particularly now that the economic boom is over.

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