Dick Eastman · January 6, 2016
Written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
This article is for anyone who has Irish ancestry but now lives elsewhere. Are you proud of your Irish ancestry? Do you occasionally travel internationally? Would you like to obtain employment in the European Union? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might want to obtain Irish citizenship and an Irish passport.
Hundreds of thousands of Irish descendants can legally obtain Irish citizenship and passports because of their ancestry. Why would you want to do that? Ask any of the 138 Irish passport holders who were safely evacuated from war-torn Lebanon a few years ago. They were able to get out safely when Americans and others could not, thanks to their Irish passports and the prominent placement of the Irish Tricolours on the front of the two buses carrying them across the Syrian border.
One’s Irishness, and in particular the carrying of an Irish passport, has helped many Irish citizens avoid potentially life-endangering situations. The Irish are known worldwide for being politically neutral. Irish humanitarian workers have often reported that they are able to win the confidence of needy groups in distressed situations.
In fact, the Irish passport has helped many get through places where they would have been killed or incarcerated had they been carrying an American or British passport. For instance, Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins was born in Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. He was the commanding officer of the Royal Irish Regiment of the British Army at the start of the Iraq war. He is now retired and works as a military consultant. He travels in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. He would never be able to travel in those areas if he used his British passport. However, Colonel Collins’ Irish ancestry entitles him to legally carry an Irish passport, which, in turn, opens doors.
All natives of Northern Ireland can carry either a British passport or an Irish passport. As another former British soldier with Irish ancestry reports, “It’s not a political statement. It’s just that Irish documents carry very little baggage abroad. Ireland is a neutral country, and it has never invaded anywhere else or even fought in a war.”
An Irish passport is one of the most prized travel documents for business and security experts, as well as for journalists and aid workers in the world’s trouble spots.
Another use for Irish passports is to obtain employment in European Union countries. Anyone with an Irish passport may obtain employment in many European countries without the formalities of work permits.
To obtain an Irish passport, you must become an Irish citizen. However, Americans and many others may hold dual citizenship. That is, Americans do not need to give up their American citizenship in order to claim Irish citizenship.