Should I revoke my British identity for a cause I believe in?

I have been a Brit living in Ireland for around 13 years.

It can be a complicated relationship at times; so much in common, but so many subtle cultural differences not always visible to the naked eye.

I have never wanted to take on Irish citizenship, despite being married to an Irishman and having two Irish children. It was important to me to retain my British identity, even though I have lived most of my adult life in Dublin.

Then, today. For the first time in thirteen years I am seriously considering applying for Irish citizenship. I look at Britain, and I don’t recognise what I see there. I’m writing this at noon on Friday, 24th June the morning the referendum results were announced. Now is the time, naturally, of emotion and hyperbole. Remain campaigners and voters are devastated at their defeat. It signals a win for fear, selfishness and, in extreme cases, hate. It’s interesting to note that 70% of 18-24 year olds voted to remain. Our future would have been safe in their hands. Those with the most to lose, are now the most betrayed.

The horrific and brutal murder of Jo Cox is a reminder of the hate and fear which has been whipped up by the press, the Daily Mail in particular, and the odious faux-political agenda of UKIP, Nigel Farage and his like. Her murder reads like a scene from a horrific dystopian novel, or a chapter from a History book on the causes leading  to the next world war. Jo Cox stood for equality and love. I had hoped , we all had hoped, those standards would win through yesterday.

And yet for those who voted leave, I feel mostly sadness rather than hate. It’s sad that 16 million people are terrified at the prospect of unity. That fear clenches their heart. That they would choose selfishness over compassion for those less fortunate than themselves, whether that be Syrian refugees, millennials struggling for jobs or Generation Xers battling childcare fees and mortgage deposits.  The country is divided and whatever the outcome the division will remain. The United Kingdom, divided.

Image taken from the Spectator

I travel regularly home to Newcastle, on my British passport, with my kids and their Irish passports. We already have to explain ourselves due to the fact I don’t share their surname, will this complicate matters further? Will I wave across at them from the interminably long non-EU queue ? I don’t consider myself non-EU.

As I contemplate the thought of taking Irish citizenship , another referendum rears its head. I had vowed to myself that I would not contemplate Irish citizenship until a referendum had taken place to Repeal the Eighth Amendment. The 8th Amendment was passed in 1983 and acknowledges the right to life of the unborn, equating it with the mother’s right to life. In simple terms, abortion is not allowed in Ireland resulting in 8 women a day travelling , mainly to the UK, to terminate their pregnancies. These might be women who have been told their foetus will not survive outside the womb, or women who have been raped, or mothers who can’t financially cope with another child in the family. Women who don’t want to have a child at this moment, for whatever reason, but who under Irish law do not have control of their own bodies and reproductive rights. The campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment is vital, active and ongoing and needs our support. On Twitter, @Blaisinsquad raised the question of what might happen now for those Irish women needing to travel ? Will this already inhumane trial be made more difficult for them?

Currently, as an English person living in Ireland I am eligible to vote in General Elections, but not referenda. My previous stance I realise now is empty, a silent protest. Wouldn’t it be best if I take on my Irish citizenship thereby enabling me to vote in any future referendum, which we hope will be coming soon, and truly be able to stand behind this cause I believe so passionately in? Because let’s remember: 33 million people voted in the UK referendum, who knows what might have happened if tens of millions others had exercised their right, and joined them.

vote

If you want more information on the Repeal the Eighth campaign, check out @repealeight on Twitter.

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15 comments

  1. All such a sad, horrible mess.

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  2. I’ve been surprised at the huge reaction to Brexit amongst teenagers in the UK and I’m starting to think that sixteen-year-olds should be allowed to vote; they seem to be better informed than anyone right now

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    1. Great that teenagers are engaged , more power to them. I did read tho that although those young people who did vote , tended to vote remain, still a lot of them didn’t turn out.

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  3. The part that makes me so angry is the way politicians & the media, like you have put so well have drummed up this bigoted, racist view of leaving the EU. The country is fractured and the likes of Farage have caused this with their backward views on Europe. Great Britain is no longer great but divided and broken.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your dilemma is a true one and I can’t begin to compute what your answer is- you will find it but it is as complicated as the whole situation we are in- unfathomable. Thank you for such an honest, ballsy piece, Lou at http://www.peppermintcove.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading Lou !

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  5. I’m still so shocked about the resut. Now that we are living in the UK (my hubs has been here for 6 months but I finally moved here just yesterday, it was such a strange feeling to arrive. I don’t get what’s happening here 😦 Much love your way, Kirsten xx

    http://www.thelifbissue.com

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  6. God I hope it all calms down a bit, people are getting really crazy about the result! I voted REMAIN and am disappointed with the outcome, I think it is a mistake. BUT ABOVE ALL ELSE I believe in democracy and all this petition nonsense is utter crap. We had a vote, there was a result – thats the way it is.
    It’s interesting to note that 70% of 18-24 year olds voted to remain – it certainly is! I wonder if the older generation were looking back and not forward when they voted?
    Your decision is a difficult one, I agree with you. Maybe wait and see how things play out over the next year? #stayclassymama

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes totally agree no second referendum. That’s democracy like it or lump it ! Hopefully it will all settle down .. I won’t make any sudden moves .

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  7. Certainly makes you think and question so many things we’ve taken for granted until now. Thanks for raising awareness of the 8th amendment too – I’d never have considered the impact of Brexit on such a matter otherwise. Just one more thing on the long list of things that no one considered when they voted out.

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  8. sequinist · · Reply

    This was a really painful way for the younger generation to realise that their votes DO count and DO matter. Given how close the margin was, if more young people had voted, the result would surely have been different.

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  9. […] by Beth who writes honest thoughts on topics that are strong and powerful. A recent article on BREXIT got me thinking about the wider picture of national […]

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  10. The Pramshed · · Reply

    It was such an awful day two weeks ago today, I was shocked and angry about the result – as was everyone I knew and pretty much everyone on social media. You’ve hit the nail on the head if more younger people had voted, would the result have been different – probably. Your post makes it clear that possibly voting should be opened up to those aged 16+, but also maybe more education and awareness is needed to be targetted at younger people about the importance of voting, and the remain campaign. Thanks so much for linking up a second post this week at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

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  11. […] by Beth who writes honest thoughts on topics that are strong and powerful. A recent article on BREXIT got me thinking about the wider picture of national […]

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