Apropos my application for Irish citizenship, I was delighted to get a letter today saying that I’m being put into the second stage of processing. If it were a sausage factory, I’d be getting ready for the pig’s gut jacket about now. My case is to be submitted to the minister, once all enquiries are complete and all required documentation is received, after which, if I’m not a reject chipolata, it will take up to 6 months to complete… but:
It begs the question “What is ‘good character’ in this case?” If I were the minister, whose back must be against the wall over the limited number of Syrian refugee children Ireland is taking in, and potentially how few of those twenty-somethings who emigrated in the last 5 years are in a position to return to gainful employment, I’d have some pre-defined criteria. I’d also have a suitable algorithm to apply to the candidate’s Facebook history to vet their social behaviour, but that’s another story. The criteria he/she might use could include:
- What has your economic contribution been to the Irish State in the last 16 years?
- Income tax paid (as opposed to tax due on un-declared earnings)
- Vat paid on purchases (as opposed to cash in hand payments to builders)
- Capital gains on property sold
- Stamp duties on property purchased
- Indirect economic benefits you have brought to the State eg:
- Business initiatives helping other businesses to generate more wealth
- Tourism initiatives bringing inward expenditure, which could be offset against overseas holiday-taking which undermines Ireland’s tourism industry.
- Community initiatives encouraging spending in the community by others, with its concomitant Vat generation
- Voluntary work which saved the government money (eg running school bazaars so that the State didn’t need to pay for running repairs on the school)
- What, if anything, have you done in the last 16 years which might cast doubt on your standing in the community? This might include a list of sub-categories eg –
- Acts of gross indecency in a public place (eg peeing against a pub wall)
- Traffic offences (eg parking really badly in the centre of a village or town)
- Acts of violence (drunken brawling, wife beating)
- Gossip-mongering (after mass, before mass, during mass)
- Racist comments against Irish people (presumably they wouldn’t worry about your views any other racial group)
- Being the object of ridicule as a foreigner, excluded from full involvement in the community (eg becoming a County Councillor) and therefor belittled to a point of ineffective contribution.
- What positive influence have you had on the quality of Irish society in the last 16 years? This is a more qualitative assessment which might be achieved by scoring the individual out of 10 on each aspect and looking for them to exceed a threshold score:
- Being a moral extemporiser and evangelist, preferably in favour of Catholicism rather than C of I, but maybe double points for Catholicism
- Being a good Finnian – not to say Fenian or Plastic Paddy. This might include actively supporting Irish teams in rugby and soccer. It might also include GAA, but that’s probably a step too far.
- Being a creative leader and inspiration through art, music, ballet (?)
- Having a great recitation or song you can pull out at Christmas – must have Irish origins
- Making people laugh away their daily woes (preferably so they laugh with you rather than at you)
- Making an effort to learn Irish words and phrases, but not using them in a Plastic Paddy kind of way to show off to (other) foreigners just how Oirish you’ve become.
- Turning a blind eye to corruption and anti-social behaviour by prominent members of the Irish community (Irish ones that is) with the comment “sure, isn’t he/she a bit of a cute whore.”
- Reporting corruption and anti-social behaviour by (other) foreigners.
I think I can feel a book coming on! Please submit your contributions.