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Those who are born here belong here. They are of us. They are Ireland.

‘’The Republic… cherishes all the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.’’ – The Proclamation of Independence, 1916

#BornHereBelongHere is a Labour Youth Initiative looking to reintroduce Birthright Citizenship to Ireland

In 2004, the people of Ireland made a decision; based on a campaign filled with xenophobic lies and misinformation, the electorate of Ireland voted to remove birthright citizenship with the 27th ammendment. Hoaxes of birth tourism pushed by right wing groups fired up the populace and that disinformation campaign has robbed thousands of Irish people their citizenship. Left wing groups and Human rights campaigners opposed the 27th amendment from the beginning, but sadly their efforts failed to stop the passing of the amendment.  In the most extreme cases, this has meant children who have lived their entire life in Ireland, and consider nowhere but Ireland home, have been faced with deportation to foreign lands.

In the years that followed there’s been a massive shift in public perception. Since then polls have consistently shown a change in the air and it is clear that a majority of Irish people support the reintroduction of birthright citizenship. Spurred on by stories like that of Eric Zhi Ying Mei Xue, and the inhumane policy was shown in all its horror, polls now show that over 70% of people support its reintroduction. The question you may be asking yourself is how this changes, ‘Sure, we voted on a referendum, do we need another referendum to reverse this?’. The short answer is no, a provision in the 27th amendment made it so that our government could legislate to reintroduce birthright citizenship. Currently there is a bill being debated in Seanad Eireann on the issue; The Irish Nationality and Citizenship (Naturalisation of Minors Born in Ireland) Bill Presented by Labour has backing from both sides of the aisle, support from Sinn Féin, the Social Democrats, People Before Profit and a number of government members. However it is still entirely possible the government will reject this bill, to fight for a more equal Ireland, an antiracist Ireland I urge you to push for your representatives in the Dail and Seanad to support this bill.

We recently passed the one year memorial of the tragic death of Cormac Ó Braonáin. He was so incredibly passionate about this campaign and up until his death he had worked tirelessly to help prepare it. Help honor the legacy of Cormac by pushing for this bill to be passed and sign our petition to add your name to the thousands of others who have voiced their support: https://www.labour.ie/belonghere/

James O’Harte

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Interviews

In Conversation with Gerry Carroll

Today’s interview was with People Before Profit MLA for West Belfast, Gerry Carroll. The interview is also available on YouTube, SoundCloud and Spotify.

The first topic of discussion was votes at 16. Gerry stressed that his party supported it. We discussed the idea that young people are not as informed as older people, yet a large part of the older population would be unable to explain the inner workings of electoral systems or the allocation of ministers, ultimately rendering this argument invalid. We also discussed low turnout amongst younger voters, I put forward the idea that young people aren’t politically educated in schools and don’t build good habits of going out to vote. Gerry talked about how his party would like to enhance the education system both giving young people education about political systems and voting alongside education about to how different parts of society work.

The next topic was the NI Youth Assembly, People Before Profit have consistently shown support for the Youth Assembly, going as far as calling for funding for a Youth Assembly even in the event of Executive collapse akin to what we had in 2017. Gerry also put forward the idea of having a Ministerial question time for the Youth Assembly, it would entail a session every month giving young people a chance to question the 12 Ministers of the Executive.

We also discussed the proposed NI centenary celebrations. There had been clashes between the big 4 Nationalist and Unionist parties over whether to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of NI. Gerry explained that while PBP would not celebrate the creation of the Cruel conservative state south of the border or the discriminatory unionist government in the North. PBP would however engage in debate and discussion about how to navigate such a controversial issue. PBP would also choose to honour the revolutionaries who face persecution both North and South of the border, alongside the Protestants and Catholics who were forced out of work and homes.

The 4 words to ruin any dinner party “let’s talk about Brexit” PBP initially supported Brexit as ultimately it was not a right wing idea however it was pirated by right wing figures like Farage and Johnson, who contrasted with War criminals like the “detestable Tony Blair” and his top spin doctor Alastair Campbell. PBP however campaigned against a Tory Brexit and believed that any deal should go to the people of NI. A bit like young people Scotland and Northern Ireland were expected to “shut up” and accept Brexit despite both nations voting against it. PBP argue that Brexit was not just a binary issue and the first referendum was a campaign of misinformation and fear from both sides.

My interview with Gerry was extremely insightful and showed that PBP want to properly support young people on both sides of the border.

Gerry was very pleasant and I got the sense that he really believes in his party’s ideology. He spoke with real conviction and belief and it was a really enjoyable opportunity.

By Dermot Hamill

Categories
Interviews

In conversation with Naomi Long

Our first article here at the youth voice, it had to be a big one. An interview with the Minister for Policing and Justice, Naomi Long of the Alliance Party.

The interview was intended to be a podcast but a technical difficulty lost any recording, however the interview went very well and I didn’t want to waste the Minister’s time so here we are.

Naomi was extremely pleasant, very honest and spoke with genuine conviction.

The first topic of discussion was votes at 16, following the implementation of votes at 16 in Welsh local elections I was keen to quiz the minister on her thoughts. She was absolutely in support of it coming into effect over here in NI hopefully by the next local government elections. We discussed the idea that everyone has the right to take part in democracy and the old slogan “no taxation without representation.”

Another topic was mandatory coalition. With the APNI announcing recently its support for a transition to a voluntary coalition I wanted to hear her views on the topic. Many people myself included were sceptical about the idea of normalised politics however Minister Long explained that her party supported a long term transition to voluntary coalition rather than a Bolshevik style revolution.

The final thing we spoke about was the controversial decision to fine BLM protesters in Belfast in the summer of 2020. Naomi reiterated her position of support for the BLM movement however said that it was a time were public health had to be prioritised. The conversation moved to the discussion about restrictions on civil liberties. The Minister said that she hoped to see a strengthening of hate crime laws and that the right to free speech also comes with the responsibility of respect. The Covid19 restrictions had been balanced largely between lives and livelihoods however the Minister said we should be considering “lives, livelihoods but also liberties.”

The interview was highly informative and unlike many senior figures Minister Long spoke to me with respect and honesty.

Written by Dermot Hamill