Key words: Ireland, racial state, biopolitics, citizenship referendum

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Ronit Lentin. 2007. ‘Ireland: Racial state and crisis racism’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2007, vol. 30/4, pp. 61-27.

Ireland: Racial state and crisis racism 1


This article theorises the state as central to the construction of racism in the Republic of Ireland, which, since the 1990s economic boom, has become an in-migration destination. State racism culminated in the 2004 Citizenship Referendum, in which, at a majority of four to one, the Irish electorate voted for the removal of birth right citizenship to children of migrants. Based on Goldberg’s theory of the racial state, which, in constructing homogeneity, obscures existing heterogeneities, and on Foucault’s theory of biopolitics, leading to the state supposedly caring for the population through a series of technologies aiming to regulate and manage racial diversities, the article examines recent developments in Ireland’s immigration and asylum policies. The debates around the Citizenship Referendum are theorized as constructing what Balibar terms ‘crisis racism’, blaming migrants for the problems of the system.

Key words: Ireland, racial state, biopolitics, citizenship referendum


On 11 June 2004 the government of the Republic of Ireland asked the electorate to vote in a referendum to amend article 9 of the Constitution to remove birth-right citizenship from children born in Ireland who do not have at least one parent who is an Irish citizen or who is entitled to Irish citizenship. Birth right citizenship was in existence since the establishment of the Republic of Ireland in 1922. The amendment did not include the children of the 1.8 million holders of Irish passports not born in Ireland who have one Irish grandparent and who are therefore entitled to Irish citizenship without having to set foot in Ireland. 79.8 per cent of the electorate voted in favour of the government’s proposal.

While global factors impinging on migration are increasingly discussed in relation to the coupling of migration with discourses of ‘security’ and ‘the war on/of terror’, I contend that the nation state, theorized by David Theo Goldberg (2002) as a ‘racial state’, remains the focus of any analysis of racism, viewed by Foucault as ‘inscribed as the basic mechanism of power, as it is exercised in modern States’. Foucault argues that ‘the modern State can scarcely function without becoming involved with racism at some point’ (Foucault 2003: 254).

I view racism as ‘a political system aiming to regulate bodies’ (Hesse 2001), rather than the consequence of individual prejudice (even though individual citizens voted in favour of the Citizenship Referendum). Thus, racism is understood as involving state, rather than individual or societal formations. 2 Without suggesting Ireland as an ideal type ‘racial state’, this article employs social theory and media discourses to argue that Ireland has evolved from being, like other nation-states, a ‘racial state’ – in which ‘race’ and ‘nation’ are defined in terms of each other – evident, for instance, in the ethnically narrow framing of the Constitution of Ireland (Lentin 1998) – to a racist state, where governmental ‘biopolitics’ and technologies of racialising indigenous groups and regulating immigration and asylum dictate the discursive and practical construction of Irishness’s otherness. This argument is explicated through an examination of the controversy surrounding Irish citizen children whose parents are migrants, and the 2004 Citizenship Referendum, which, this article argues, is a turning point in the recent history of racism in Ireland.

I want to argue that racial terminology of categorization and control on the one hand and discourses of ‘cultural diversity’ on the other underpin the Irish state’s response to the arrival of growing numbers of immigrants since the 1990s, in the shape of ‘intercultural’ politics, which construct cultural difference and ethnic minority ‘communities’ as static and already there, ignoring intra-ethnic heterogeneities and contestations. Racial state thinking in Ireland has spawned state-generated euphemisms such as ‘non-nationals’ to describe non-EU migrants (replacing the no-longer-acceptable ‘aliens’ as in the British-inspired 1935 Aliens Act), and ‘Irish born children’ to describe the children citizen of non-EU migrants. Furthermore, I want to suggest that state asylum, immigration and integration policies – couched in terms such as ‘management’, ‘regulation’ and ‘mainstreaming’, approximate Foucault’s theorization of the modern nation-state as a ‘state of population’, monitoring and controlling the nation’s biological life which becomes a problem of sovereign power (Agamben 1998, p. 10). This article highlights the apparent contradiction between a declared (bio)politics of ‘a caring society’, and the increasing tendency to re-define the nation-state’s boundaries by controlling not only in-migration, but also existing minority collectives within.

Racial state

Goldberg (2002) posits modern nation-states as ‘racial states’, which exclude in order to construct homogeneity – which he sees as ‘heterogeneity in denial’ – while appropriating difference through celebrations of the multicultural. The racial state is a state of power, asserting its control over those within the state and excluding others from outside the state. Through constitutions, border controls, the law, policy making, bureaucracy and governmental technologies such as census categorizations, invented histories and traditions, ceremonies and cultural imaginings, modern states, each in its own way, are defined by their power to exclude (and include) in racially ordered terms, to categorize hierarchically, and to set aside. In the modern state, race and nation are defined in terms of each other to produce a coherent picture of the population in the face of a divisive heterogeneity.

Goldberg posits two traditions of thinking about racial states. The first, naturalism, fixes racially conceived ‘natives’ as premodern, naturally incapable of progress. The second tradition, historicism, elevates Europeans over primitive or underdeveloped others as a victory of progress (Goldberg 2002, p. 43).

The modern state is about keeping racialized others out but also about legislating against the so-called ‘degeneracy’ of indigenous populations (which explains the persistence of antisemitism and anti-nomadism). For the racial naturalist, the racially subjugated are surplus labour, exploited at best, detritus at worst. For the racial historicist, the racially immature are inserted into historical development, though progress is only possible through mimicry of the Eurocentre (Goldberg 2002, p. 94-6). While the two traditions overlap, historicism has become dominant since the twentieth century. Understood as the space of white men of property, 3 the modern state’s historicist progressivism aims, through amalgamation and assimilation, to assist its racial others – conceived as not white – to ‘undo their uncivilized conditions’. But beneath its liberalism, historicism camouflages racism, and is ultimately about the ordering zeal of modernity (Goldberg 2002, pp. 80, 92-3).

Contrary to the accepted narrative of Ireland as a former ‘emigrant nursery’ and of in-migration as a ‘new’ phenomenon, Ireland has long been a country of both emigration and immigration. Alongside Scots and English migrants came substantial other in-migrations including Huguenots, Italian, Chinese, German, Jews and others (Ward 1999). British imperial colonial government created a context in which emigration was routine – the vast majority of Irish migrants went to British colonies or former colonies. As elsewhere, slavery, starvation and bonded servitude encouraged huge movement outwards throughout the nineteenth century (Lentin and McVeigh 2002, 2006). This out-migration created a huge Irish diaspora, totalling some 75 million around the world, with around 45 million people in the United States claiming Irish ancestry. An estimated three million Irish citizens currently live abroad, of whom 1.2 million were born in Ireland, mostly in the US and the UK (Department of Foreign Affairs, cited by Ruhs 2005, p. 7).

The 1990s advent of the so-called ‘Celtic Tiger’ economic boom (Allen 2000; Kirby 2002) transformed the situation where emigration outstripped in-migration into Ireland. While many in-migrants were returning Irish citizens, driven by the ‘success’ of capitalism in Ireland, Irishness became racialized in new ways (c.f. McVeigh 1996; Fanning 2002; Loyal 2003; Mac Éinri, 2003Lentin and McVeigh 2006). To borrow from Ignatiev’s book How the Irish Became White (1995), for the first time the Irish in Ireland became ‘white’, and Irishness became equated with whiteness precisely when it became increasingly difficult to make this equation. Historicism is one way of theorizing this transition as it became clear that interpreting in-migration and the presence of people of colour as ‘new’ underpins the elevation of Europeans and the respective racialization of non-Europeans as working towards progress and equality with the Eurocentre.

While naturalism Irish-style is exemplified in English colonialism, from the seventeenth century onwards, racializing the Irish, casting them as bestial, and incapable of progress (Ní Shuinéar 2002, p. 177), Irish historicism creates its own ‘racial inferiors’ through, firstly, the ongoing racialization of Irish Travellers, conceived as ‘Irish national’ though not always as ‘white’ (McVeigh 1996); secondly, through governmental technologies of asylum and immigration controls, aiming to restore modernity’s order just as all certainties – economic, civil, cultural, sexual – seem to be collapsing; and thirdly, through biopolitical governmental technologies regulating the lives of migrants, but also equality mechanisms, which reproduce racialized populations as ultimately unequal.

Biopolitics: From racial state to racist state

Michel Foucault (2003) argues that when natural life becomes included in mechanisms of state power, politics turns into biopolitics, the territorial state becomes a ‘state of population’, and the nation’s biological life becomes a problem of sovereign power. Through a series of technologies, bio-power creates ‘docile bodies’, and the population – its welfare, wealth, longevity and health – becomes a subject, but also an object in the hands of government.

Foucault uses the concept of ‘biopower’ to demonstrate how the ‘ethnicization’ of racism shifts its focus from intra-societal degeneration to the threat posed from the outside. Biopower is addressed to living beings and directed at all the processes that refer to the mass of humans: birth, death, sickness, health, education, welfare, but also the gathering of information through demography and statistics. Foucault differentiates between the sovereign power of the old territorial state (‘to make die and let live’) and modern biopower (‘to make live and let die’). The modern state can scarcely function without becoming involved with racism, ‘the break between what must live and what must die’ (Foucault 2003, p. 254). Race no longer serves one group against another, but becomes a ‘tool’ of social conservatism; a racism that society practices against itself, a tool of constant purification and social normalization.

As opposed to scapegoat theories of racism, which argue that under economic and social duress, sub-populations are cordoned off as intruders, blamed, and used to deflect anxieties, as suggested by Balibar (1991), Foucault’s theory of racism is an expression of an ongoing social war nurtured by the biopolitical technologies of purification. Thus racism is intrinsic to the nature of all modern, normalising states and their biological technologies, occurring in varying intensities, ranging from social exclusion to mass murder.

I now turn to discuss biopower’s racializing technologies in the Republic of Ireland, which, in doing all it can to maintain homogeneity by ‘managing’ ethnic diversity, is arguably not merely ‘racial’ in its formation and use of discourses and practices such as the law, but also ‘racist’ in terms of using biopower technologies to control, in particular though not exclusively, migrant and racialized populations.

Racial categorization and citizenship rights

Goldberg (2002, pp. 141-7) posits the law as central to modern state formation and a technology of racial rule, promoting racial categorization and identification, and shaping national identities through legislating on immigration controls and citizenship rights. With historicism, the law shapes race in legal terms, threading it into the fabric of the social. Since the neutrality of the law is no guarantee of equal treatment, constitutions might be suspended (or not extended) in relation to racially defined populations, as the Citizenship Referendum, discussed below, exemplifies. I suggest that Irish historicism regards non-Irish others as inadequate candidates for citizenship, employing patently racist legislation to criminalize, regulate and control both in-migrants and indigenous populations, as I now illustrate under four headings.

Re-categorising racialized populations

According to Gilroy (2000, p. 28), the ‘technical, anthropological language of “ethnicity” and “culture” is just another way of speaking about “race”’. Irish Travellers, who at 23,700, are Ireland’s largest and oldest racialized group, have fought long and hard to claim a status as an ‘ethnic group’ even though this has only been grudgingly recognized by the Irish state (O’Connell 2002; Lentin and McVeigh 2006). Yet on October 15 2003 the Minister for Justice Equality and Law reform claimed that Travellers ‘do not constitute a distinct group from the population as a whole in terms of race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin’. This was why, he argued, ‘discrimination against Travellers’ was inserted as a ‘separate ground’ into the Equal Status Act and the Employment Equality Act 4 – combining a biopolitics of ‘caring’ for Travellers with their racialization. Further limiting their rights, the 2002 Housing Bill criminalizes Traveller camping on public and private property, despite the fact that commitments to provide adequate accommodation to Travellers made by the government in its 1995 Task Force on the Travelling Community (1995) went largely unfulfilled.

In July 2002, the government terminated the funding for the Citizen Traveller project. 5 The Minister for Justice stated that the campaign ‘did not achieve significant success in its main objective – ‘healing the divide in Irish society that stands between the settled and Traveller communities’ 6 - again avowing supposed concern for Traveller welfare, while at the same time cutting their funding. The Irish Traveller Movement expressed anger at the suspension of the project, which was due, according to the ITM, to its outdoor poster campaign highlighting the negative implications for Travellers of the ‘trespass law’ and declaring the law ‘racist’ (ITM 2003).

The decision to end the funding illustrates the contradictions in the Irish state’s approach to Ireland’s indigenous population. While the racial state deprives Travellers of their chosen ‘ethnic’ status which would allow them to name their discrimination ‘racism’, it does so in the pretence of caring, based on a Foucauldian ‘biopolitics’, according to which the role of the state is to ‘manage’, and in this case, assimilate and settle the Traveller population, but ultimately aiming to segregate them (O’Connell 2002).

Immigration and asylum controls

Even though in-migration is not ‘new’ as is often argued by state and media in Ireland, in the 1990s the newly affluent Ireland became an in-migration destination. In 1996, Ireland reached its ‘migration turning point’ and has been a country of net in-migration ever since (Ruhs 2005, p. 109). 7 However, despite an explicit admittance that in order to maintain economic growth, Ireland is in need of immigrant labour, the state is doing all it can to restrict immigration. Loyal (2003, p. 74) argues that the current hegemonic construction of Ireland as an ‘open, cosmopolitan, multicultural, tourist friendly society’ obscures a ‘harsh reality of capitalist production, exclusionary nationalism and growing xenophobia in relation to both the state and the general populace’. The economic boom, instead of allaying racist fears, has ‘consistently treated non-national immigration as a political problem’.

Refugee legislation has been successively amended to focus on the credibility of applicants, mandate finger printing, make provisions for detention, and disallow applications from countries designated as ‘safe countries’. The number of asylum applications rose from 39 in 1992 to peak at 11,634 in 2002, and has gone down ever since (Office of Refugee Applications Commissioner 2005). While limiting the numbers of people allowed to land to present their asylum application, the state seems desperate to bring in economic and labour migrants, seen as economic commodities, vital to Ireland’s continued economic growth. Due to shortage of labour in certain sectors, there was a 600 per cent rise in the number of work visas granted since 1999 (Mac Éinri 2003; Bacik 2004a, p. 190). Between March 2004 and March 2005, the Central Statistics Office recorded an increase of 72,400 workers, including 25,000 migrant workers (O’Halloran 2005). Despite this, Ireland has developed neither a coherent immigration policy nor a green card system (Loyal and Allen 2006).

Before the enactment of the 2000 Illegal Immigration Act, the Minister for Justice’s power to deport non-nationals was based on the 1935 Aliens Act and the 1946 Aliens Order, rendered ‘beyond the scope’ only in 1999 with the enactment of the Immigration Act, which shifts the focus from identifying persons in need of protection, ‘towards techniques devised to screen out as many applications as possible’ (Irish Refugee Council 2003, emphasis added). This has resulted in increasing numbers of deportations: in all, since 1999 a total of 2,004 people were deported from Ireland, and 2,299 were ‘voluntarily repatriated’ by July 2004 (Irish Refugee Council 2004; see Feckete 2005 for a European context).

In March 2005, 35 people described by the state as ‘failed asylum seekers’ were deported to Nigeria. Popular mobilization on behalf of the deportees ended in the return of one ‘aged out’ 8 young Nigerian, Olukunle Eluhanla, who was due to sit his final state exams (Healy 2005). Rationalizing his initial refusal to return Eluhanla, later reversed, Minister of Justice Michael McDowell stated that if he was to act on the ‘length of petitions’, the fact that some deportees were academically gifted, or the fact that they had become involved in local community groups, ‘I would have a totally chaotic deportation system’ (Reid 2005). The deportation system clearly assumes greater importance than the refugees’ safety.

State discourses demonstrate the demonization of those who seek refugee status as ‘bogus refugees’, ‘economic migrants’, ‘illegal immigrants’ or simply ‘failed asylum seekers’, linking them to criminality and breaches of state security (Schuster 2003). Asylum seekers are presented as costing the state too much and as competing with disadvantaged populations for scarce resources, and, crucially, the need to control them is presented as essential to the ‘common good’ and subordinated to ‘the integrity of the asylum process’. Schuster (2003, p. 253) argues that the reason for continuing deportations, despite the fact that they are expensive in both financial and human terms, 9 is that they are both ineffectual and essential, confirming the lie that states can control their boundaries and ‘remove from their territory those without any right to remain’, which is necessary to ‘assuage public opinion, which would not view the state’s incapacity in this area with equanimity’. However, the assumption that the threat of deportation creates fear and may persuade some to return ‘voluntarily’ is only speculative.

Eithne Luibhéid (2004, pp. 335-350), contextualising the arrival of asylum seekers to Ireland in global restructuring, global capital accumulation, and global wars, argues that racial states need asylum seekers in order to ‘redraw racial and national boundaries that have become destabilized in the contemporary era’.

According to Ivana Bacik, the Supreme Court’s response to legal challenges of the Immigration Act was to rule against the argument on discrimination. In doing so, the law differentiates not only between citizens and ‘non nationals’, but also between categories of ‘non nationals’, upholding the legitimacy of public policy which ‘facilitates the better administration of the asylum system’ (Bacik 2004a, p. 187), an argument used repeatedly, as I now demonstrate in relation to the citizen children affair and the Citizenship Referendum.

The ‘Irish-born children’ debate

Just as Travellers were no longer recognized by the Minister for Justice as an ‘ethnic group’, so too children born in Ireland to non-citizen parents were assigned a new category, that of ‘Irish born children’, racially differentiated from children born in Ireland to citizen parents. The relationship between the Irish state and migrant parents of citizen children illustrates the use of the law in racializing migrant populations.

Until the 2004 Citizenship Referendum, all children born in Ireland were Irish citizens, with Irish citizenship constitutionally granted to anyone who was a citizen of the Irish Free State before the enactment of the 1937 constitution. The 1956 and 1986 Nationality and Citizenship Acts grant citizenship to anyone born in the 32 counties of Ireland, except ‘children of aliens entitled to diplomatic immunity in the State at the time of birth’. This right was further consolidated by the amended Article 2 of the Irish Constitution, as part of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement:

It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish nation. That is also the entitlement of all persons otherwise qualified in accordance with law to be citizens of Ireland. Furthermore, the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage (Bunreacht na hEireann 1937, 9th Amendment 1998).

What was new about the amended Article 2 of the Constitution is the explicit entitlement of all people born on the island of Ireland to membership of ‘the nation’, a nebulous entity. Dubbed by the state a ‘constitutional loophole’, the amendment meant, as was ruled in the 1989 Fajujonu Supreme Court case, that migrant parents of children born in Ireland had a claim to remain in Ireland to provide ‘care and company’ to their citizen child. This process of application for permission to remain was overturned in January 2003 when the Supreme Court ruled in the Lobe and Osayande appeal, that ‘non-national’ parents no longer had a strong case to be allowed to remain in Ireland to bring up their child (Madock and Mallon 2003). The Lobe and Osayande case involved two families, of Czech Roma and Nigerian origins, against whom deportation orders were made. In both cases, the parents claimed that their decision to remain resident was in the children’s best interest. The Supreme Court, however, privileged the State’s right to deport, and the ‘integrity of the asylum process’ over these citizen children’s rights, although it did not rescind the citizenship right of persons born in the island of Ireland (CADIC 2003).

The debates following the January 2003 Supreme Court ruling exposed a host of contradictions. One contradiction is between nationality and citizenship. The ius sanguinis-based rights to Irish citizenship allows up to third generation Irish emigrants to claim Irish citizenship, while at the same time, the state is contesting the ius solis citizenship rights of children of migrants, which, it claimed misleadingly, was only accorded to children of migrants by the insertion of Article 2 into the Constitution in 1998. The other contradiction is between two constitutional entities, ‘the nation’ (consolidated by the amendment to Article 2) and ‘the family’, termed in Article 41.1.1 of the Constitution as ‘the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society’ (Bunreacht na hÉireann 1937). The judgment juxtaposed the ‘integrity of the asylum process’ – interpreted by the court as the right of the Minister for Justice to deport – and the constitutional integrity of ‘the family’. 10

The court’s ruling in the L & O case (Maddock and Mallon 2003; Coulter 2003) illustrates the centrality of the law as a governmental technology deployed by the racial state. Clearly upholding ‘control in the face of the anarchic, of order in the face of disorder’ (Goldberg 2002, p. 94), Chief Justice Ronan Keane ruled that the State ‘was entitled to take the view that the orderly system of dealing with immigration and asylum applications should not be undermined by persons seeking to take advantage’ of the system. According to Mullaly (2003), this case proves that ‘the protection of a child’s claim to reside within a State (is) made dependent on the legal status and behaviour of her or his parents… in place of a concern with the child’s best interests, the State substitutes its own interest in immigration control’. Furthermore, this contradiction between the ‘common good’ and the exclusion of those termed by the state as being outside the remit of full Irish citizenship illustrates Foucault’s insistence that racism is a defence mechanism exercised by society against itself.

In the wake of the ruling, on 19 February 2003, the Minister of Justice removed the process whereby an immigrant parent could apply for permission to remain in Ireland solely on the grounds of being the parent of a child citizen (CADIC, 2003). The abolition of the process resulted in 11,500 migrant parents of Irish citizen children becoming candidates for deportation as of July 2003.

For a period of almost two years, the Minister for Justice consistently reiterated his unwillingness to entertain any policy recognising en masse migrant parents of Irish children who had lawfully applied for residency. Moreover, among the 341 people deported between 2002 and February 2005 there were at least 20 citizen children (Dáil Question, 16 February 2005). However, the Minister insisted that these figures were ‘infinitesimal’ compared to what was by 2004 16,000 non-national parents of Irish citizen children and said these figures ‘give the lie to the suggestion that I am busily deporting these people on a wholesale basis’ (O’Halloran 2004).

However, rhetoric aside, just a few months after the state won the Citizenship Referendum, the decision was reversed and on 15 January 2005 the DJELR announced the details of the new administrative arrangements for parents of Irish children born before 1 January 2005 to apply for residency in Ireland. By July 2005 some 18,000 people applied for residency, even though they were made to sign away any rights for family reunification; 16,693 applicants were granted residency (Onyejelem 2005 p. 16).

I would argue that this volte face had probably more to do with the huge cost of potential court cases by migrant parents than with humanitarian reasons, though the Minister did not explain this reversal of fortunes.

The citizenship referendum

Having (as it transpired, temporarily) closed the route of residency to migrant parents of citizen children, the Irish state next held a referendum to reverse its ius solis citizenship access and, for the first time in 83 years, make blood the cornerstone of Irish citizenship.

The state’s main message – couched in discourses of ‘citizenship matters’, ‘common sense’ and ‘the integrity of Irish citizenship’– was that Ireland’s citizenship laws, unique in the EU, were being exploited. However, although much was made of Ireland’s unique citizenship arrangements within the EU, Colin Harvey (2003) links state sovereignty to the insistence by states on determining who is entitled to enter their territory and become a citizen, to argue that immigration (and refugee) law, with its focus on the award of a status, leaves too much to the (racial) state to decide. The purpose is always to ‘secure national level protection’ (Harvey 2003, p. 17), which puts paid to the argument in the run up to the Citizenship Referendum, about the need to harmonise Ireland’s so-called generosity with citizenship standards of other EU member states.

Throughout the debate, the Minister for Justice was keen to emphasise that the proposed change was antiracist, rather than racist, and that ‘the greatest contribution to racism and xenophobia would be if it was perceived that the Government could not control immigration’. Despite the Supreme Court ruling regarding migrant parents of citizen children, the Minister said ‘it became clear that citizenship was still acting as a pull’ (Coulter 2004b). The government also used the case brought by Mrs Chen, a wealthy Chinese national residing in the UK who chose to have her baby in Northern Ireland, winning a European Court recommendation to be allowed to reside in Britain having had an Irish citizen child, as further justification for the need to defend Irish citizenship from abuse (Bacik 2004b; Coulter and Brennock 2004). However, in Mrs Chen’s case there were no resource implications for the Irish State, but rather for the northern Irish state, paid for by the British exchequer, so it is plausible to argue the Irish racist state was born out of a perceived obligation by the Irish Republic towards the integrity of racist immigration and citizenship policies in Britain and the EU. 11

Bacik argues that immigration law in Ireland leaves too much in the hands of ministers, without sufficient intervention from the legislature, thus breaching the separation of powers, vital for democracy. Legislation on immigration matters is regularly passed hurriedly in response to individual cases and crisis situations (Bacik 2004a pp. 192-4). However, despite, or perhaps because of, the inequality the referendum created between children born in Ireland who will all remain part of ‘the nation’ – article 2 was not amended – yet some of whom will have neither Irish ‘nationality’ nor ‘citizenship’, the referendum was carried by a majority of four to one, demonstrating that the racial state’s ‘common sense’ argument did influence Irish voters.

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