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National identities… July 18, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I guess it was only a matter of time for something like this to happen, an issue that points up some of the contradictions of the situation on this island in relation to national identity, sovereignty, the outworkings of the GFA/BA and so on. And interestingly this isn’t a Brexit story. Yet.

Emma DeSouza was told in September 2016 that her husband’s application for a family member residence card to remain in Northern Ireland had been rejected. The UK Home Office rejected the application because Ms DeSouza applied for the visa as an Irish national, informing her that under British nationality laws she was a British citizen.
As a British citizen, she was informed that she could renounce her citizenship and reapply as an Irish citizen to ensure her husband’s visa. However, Ms DeSouza says she will not sign any declaration that indicates she is British.


Under the Belfast Agreement people born in Northern Ireland can choose to be British citizens, Irish citizens or have dual citizenship.
“I only hold an Irish passport and I’ve only every identified as Irish,” Ms DeSouza told The Irish Times. “At no point have I been a dual national. I was raised to believe I could be Irish-only in Northern Ireland.”

Interesting, I’d have had that impression too. Trouble ahead more broadly …note the phrasing of this… the Home Office said:

“if an Irish citizen in Northern Ireland wishes to regularise the stay of a non-European spouse or civil partners, they may choose to apply for a document confirming their right to reside in the United Kingdom. This application is made under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016. This requires that the Irish citizen satisfies the criteria of the regulations in the same way as any other citizen of the European Union.”

And when the UK leaves the EU?


1. An Sionnach Fionn - July 18, 2017

FFS! It’s almost as if the UK as an institution is inviting trouble. You don’t need an Archduke Ferdinand to spark a war, just a catalogue of petty injustices and no way to rectify them. The British at the wrong end of the telescope again.


sonofstan - July 18, 2017

“The British at the wrong end of the telescope again.”
Is anyone else’s internet filling up with ads for Dunkirk and the Darkest Hour?


WorldbyStorm - July 18, 2017

Quite a bit SoS. It’s strange – I can’t keep from feeling that Dunkirk is an inverse of Brexit, then there was an engagement with Europe even if the event itself was a bit of a disaster, now, not so much. I’m actually interested in that period of Irish and British history -the 36 to 45 period. It’s definitely under considered in relation to this state and island. So I’ll go see the film. But I think that there’s an unhealthy tinge to English perceptions of the period, far too much emphasis on isolation when of course there was anything but, not merely with the Empire but also direct support for resistance in France, North Africa, the Middle East etc. Some of which was problematic at this remove but a world away from a sort of simple insularity.

+1 ASF.


Starkadder - July 19, 2017

Ask a Canadian, Australian or New Zealander if “Britain stood alone” in the 1939-1941 period. The Commonwealth were supplying men and aid to the British throughout this time.


WorldbyStorm - July 19, 2017

And France until 1940


Citizen of Nowhere - July 21, 2017

And don’t forget the non-white ‘colonials’ who fought died – Indians, Gurkas etc. etc.

Don’t mention the various partisan groups!


Joe - July 21, 2017

And let’s not forget the brave Irish citizens who went to Britain and joined the British Army to fight with the British against the Nazis at that time too. And the other brave Irish citizens who went to Britain to work there and help the war effort.
Yes I know we were officially neutral and that some British people might feel that that was part of them ‘standing alone’ but they should understand that we were neutral, but on the British [aka eventual winners] side on the sly, like.


WorldbyStorm - July 21, 2017

Very true and not all that much on the sly, an air corridor to NI across Eire territory for British aircraft, extremely close security cooperation with British in intelligence in particular and so on. A most peculiar form of neutrality. And BTW I think the state was absolutely right too to do so. The interesting thing is that in a cost benefit analysis for the UK our form of neutrality was better for them because they didn’t have to use resources to defend it (given we couldn’t afford to).


Michael Carley - July 21, 2017

Very useful corrective to that view in this:


I’ve read the book and it is absolutely excellent.


2. roddy - July 18, 2017

I knew a man who was at Dunkirk.He settled here after the war,married a local woman and 2 of his sons joined the IRA at the start of the troubles.He used to vent his anger at British army raiding parties as they wrecked his house.His favourite line delivered in a strong Scottish accent was “I did’nt see many of you c—s at Dunkirk.”!


benmadigan - July 19, 2017

his attitude is hardly surprising. After Dunkirk, Churchill abandoned the Highland Division at St. Valery and 1o,ooo scotsmen ended up in German POW camps



3. ivorthorne - July 19, 2017

The Brits seem to be unaware that they were even involved in the GFA. I’m just surprised this has taken so long to happen.


4. FergusD - July 19, 2017

“if an Irish citizen in Northern Ireland wishes to regularise the stay of a non-European spouse or civil partners, they may choose to apply for a document confirming their right to reside in the United Kingdom”

I thought the Common Travel Area gave Irish citizens the right to settle in the UK? So why does she need any document to say she can stay in the UK? Is that not the case? Why does she need to renounce Irish citizenship?


sonofstan - July 19, 2017

Good question. When I took up my current job, the proof they required that I was allowed to work here was simply my passport. But it does raise the question – if I had a spouse/ child who was not an Irish citizen, would s/he have the same rights as the spouse/ child of a UK citizen?


Ivorthorne - July 19, 2017

This raises another interesting question in my head. How will employers verify if someone from an EU country has a right to work there post-Brexit? With non-EU nationals, they provide a Visa. Will they have to bring in utility bills proving they’ve resided for X amount of time? Will NI numbers initiation dates need to be checked? There seem to be problems with any system I imagine.


sonofstan - July 19, 2017

There’s talk of an ID card – but as you say, NI numbers don’t by themselves, prove anything; you could have got one, and then gone home in the meantime. Continuous employment would be easy enough, but what if there were gaps? What if your UK company sent you to work somewhere else for a few months?


Ivorthorne - July 20, 2017

Heck, what if you’re not working but your spouse is?

An ID card sounds potentially useful but in reality, they’ll need to vet them and it will make recruitment more expensive. They’ll either exclude people who have no right to work or be loose enough that anyone off the boat and with a couple of mates will be able to get one.


sonofstan - July 20, 2017

Yeah, I’ve been wondering if, when I fill out a job application, and they see my nationality whether they’ll think ‘hmm…could be trouble ahead’


ivorthorne - July 21, 2017

In some cases, probably but funnily, in many cases no less than someone from NI!


Joe - July 21, 2017
sonofstan - July 21, 2017

As long as it’s not compulsory, Joe….:)


5. Bartholomew - July 20, 2017

On Dunkirk – the French reaction to the film sees it as isolationist and narcissistic. From the Le Monde review:

“Where in this film are the 120,000 French soldiers also evacuated from Dunkirk [out of the total of 400,000]? Where are the other 40,000 who sacrificed themselves to defend the city against an enemy which was superior in arms and in numbers? Where are the members of the First Army, who, abandoned by their allies who thought the game was lost, nevertheless prevent several divisions of the Wehrmacht from attacking Dunkirk?

Christopher Nolan – an English father, an American mother, allegiance to Hollywood – chose to make a film in France, to spread the manna of a blockbuster there, to advertise it like hell, but in the end all to better ignore it in his film…
[this is] a stinging impoliteness, a distressing indifference.”



EWI - July 21, 2017

A Brexiteer film for our times (it even claims the Irish actors as ‘British’).


Citizen of Nowhere - July 21, 2017

Surprise, surprise. The anglophone (Hollywood plus some Brits) cultural industry sees everything to Antlanticist spectacles.

Not very high up on my list of films to see.


Starkadder - July 21, 2017

I wonder does the film even mention the Canadians soldiers evacuated at Dunkirk:



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