andDr. Browne asked the Minister for External Affairs whether he is aware of the difficulty facing Irish missionaries in newly-emerging States such as Trinidad, who, it appears, may have to choose between either giving up Irish nationality or being regarded as aliens with consequent disabilities on their present rights in regard to operating schools, engaging in social works, performing marriages, etc.; and whether he will give urgent consideration to the matter, investigating in particular the feasibility of arranging for these missionaries to retain Irish nationality together with the nationality of their country of domicile.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Difficulties of Irish Missionaries.
Under the nationality law of many States, and not only newly-emerging States, the acquisition of their citizenship requires the renunciation of the existing citizenship.
So far as my information goes, no orders or regulations have yet been issued in Trinidad on this subject. It seems, however, that the Trinidad authorities intend that those who register for citizenship must renounce their present citizenship. I have no indications that these measures are particularly directed at missionaries, but missionaries would also be included within their scope in so far as they are foreigners.
Under our Nationality law, an Irish citizen does not lose his citizenship merely by operation of the law of another country.
May we take it then that if Irish citizens in countries like Trinidad are accepted as citizens of these new emerging independent nations, they will still be allowed to retain their Irish citizenship by the Irish Government?
I think I have answered that. I said that the Irish citizen does not lose his citizenship merely by operation of the law of another country.
I appreciate that the Minister is being helpful, but in view of the fact that there is a great deal of uneasiness, particularly among teachers, missionaries and so on, in these countries, may we take it there will be no danger whatever of our Irish citizens losing their citizenship here, if they are accepted as citizens of any of these nations?
I think I have given the answer to that pretty well in my original reply.
I just want to ask the Minister will he say "Yes" or "no"?
I have said that under our nationality law, an Irish citizen does not lose his citizenship merely by operation of the law of another country.
May we take it, Sir, if the position arises that one of these new countries is inclined to insist that there will be only the one citizenship allowed to any particular individual in the country, in those circumstances it would amount to the fact that an Irish citizen would no longer be able to hold his Irish citizenship?
That is a purely hypothetical question.
The trouble is that it may sound hypothetical here but it is a very serious problem for the people concerned.
But in view of the reply, it is a purely hypothetical question.