By Paul Goldthing
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar caused an uproar among hardline Brexiteer ministers by preparing a bill to grant Irish citizenship to all EU citizens living in the UK.
“Their settlement scheme is a scam, it makes people apply for rights they already have, looks for excuses to strip those rights away, and makes up for scrapping the fee by quietly amending the ID requirement to stipulate a valid document, rather than just the document, which could have been expired, as was previously the case. I also fail to see why ID is needed at all, since the verification process uses government databases fraudsters can’t falsify, and no physical document will be issued, and thus the system can’t be exploited by third persons, unless they managed to bribe an insider.”
Mr Varadkar further explained that people with spent convictions, which must be disregarded by current rules, are being put at the mercy of caseworkers who are given ‘discretion’ on a case-by-case basis, in his view a polite way of saying that the UK government intends to ‘refuse’ as many applications as possible for currently legally invalid reasons.
“If there were to be an Irexit – there won’t be, but let’s for a second assume there was – Ireland would never do that to people it has already embraced, who already made Ireland their home, who have become just as Irish as the rest of us whilst being with us. We can’t bear watching our closest neighbours, who are supposed to be our best friends these days, do it to their more recently added compatriots, and all the while putting the Good Friday Agreement on the line, the very foundation of our peace and friendship. As Irishmen – and Irishwomen – we can’t stand by and watch that happen, we will embrace EU citizens in the UK as our own and grant them citizenship, which will allow them to stay in the UK without having to go through the fraudulent application process the UK government utilises to secure excused deportations of people who can’t be legally deported under existing rules.”
Scottish First Minister, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, expressed solidarity with the taoiseach and vowed to keep Scottish lawmakers working all night to find ways how Scotland could assist in Mr Varadkar’s endeavour.
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage warned Mr Varadkar that his betrayal won’t go unpunished, and the forces of the upcoming New British Empire are on standby to retake the Royal Province of Ireland, to which Mr Varadkar responded with a snort of derision.