Ireland fact of the day

…anyone with a grandparent born in Ireland is entitled to claim Irish citizenship, and the numbers entitled to that status in Britain may exceed the entire population of Ireland.

Here is the story, via @eurocrat.


... which tells a lot about the comparative quality of life in Ireland, at least in recent history.

And why Ireland not only performed its own, long drawn out exit from the UK, but also prefers the sort of financial and regulatory support offered by the EU, compared to Ireland's previous experience with a distant government uninterested in local democracy.

Ireland's previous experience was drawing subsidies from Britain, while being spared some of the costs of being part of the UK. After decades of independent poverty, it then found a different teat to suck on.

They did exploit their opportunity well, and then it turned out that their banks had not only been astonishingly reckless but also crooked. They were hardly unique in that, but they were unusually hard hit.

We've all see Braveheart. That is not how it went down.

Braveheart is about Scotland

'Ireland’s previous experience was drawing subsidies from Britain'

Like how all those Irish transportees were subsidized in Australia?

'while being spared some of the costs of being part of the UK'

But it is interesting to see how that sparing came about in concrete cases, like this one - 'The Conscription Crisis of 1918 stemmed from a move by the British government to impose conscription (military draft) in Ireland in April 1918 during the First World War. Vigorous opposition was led by trade unions, Irish nationalist parties and Roman Catholic bishops and priests. A conscription law was passed but was never put in effect; no one in Ireland was drafted into the British Army. The proposal and backlash galvanised support for political parties which advocated Irish separatism and influenced events in the lead-up to the Irish War of Independence.'

Generally, listening to the English talking about how the UK positively benefitted Ireland resembles the sort of perspective that a number of white Americans have when talking about the positive benefits of slavery for black Americans.

You're not listening to the English, you're listening to someone whose Irish grandfather had a wonderfully well-informed, unsentimental contempt for much about his countrymen.


I used to live in Chicago. Everyone in Chicago is Irish. Not really, but Irish dominance is (was) quite deep. Other ethnic group in Chicago were actually quite numerous. However, the Irish (Irish-Americans) claimed the city was theirs and no one really disagreed.

Of course, the Irish of Chicago knew (typically) nothing about Ireland. I used to explain to people that the Irish Free State was formed in 1921 and that Ireland was now independent of the UK. Essentially no one believed me. Local knowledge of Ireland was frozen in time circa 1840.

The only exceptions were real Irish people (born in Ireland after WWII). Chicago actually had quite a few and they were quite current on Irish affairs.

Hey, I'm from Chicago too. There is some truth in what you say.

For the record, Peter, my mom emigrated from Ireland to Chicago in 1953 at age 18 by herself. You could probably teach her a lot about what life was like in Ireland back then.

Brian Donohue,

I haven't lived in Chicago for many years, but I loved it back then. "Backdraft" was my favorite Chicago movie and probably still is (with the Untouchables in second place). The movie captured the Chicago Irish mindset rather well. One funny scene had a group of firefighters sitting down for dinner with a sign above them that reads "150 Years of Tradition Unimpeded by Progress”.

The sign captured the Chicago mindset rather well. However, it was absolutely wrong in fact. The Chicago Fire Department has been technologically quite advanced ever since the Great Fire.

Brian Donohue,

"For the record, Peter, my mom emigrated from Ireland to Chicago in 1953 at age 18 by herself. You could probably teach her a lot about what life was like in Ireland back then."

I am not sure if this is true. My knowledge of Ireland in the 1950s is limited to "The Secret of Roan Inish". Not literally, but you can get the idea. In the teaching of U.S. history, Ireland shows up prominently from Cromwell, to the Potato Famine, to the formation of the Irish Free State. At that point it stops. Irish neutrality in WWII probably plays some role in this (and yes, Ireland really wasn't neutral) as did Ireland's absence from NATO after WWII.

The long boom in Ireland from 1980 to 2000, definitely raised Ireland's profile in the U.S. (in a positive way). The crash and bank disasters of 2008 have also produced plenty of press.

2015 GDP per capita

UK: 43,734.00
Ireland: 51,289.70

Suck it, limey. Now back to your story:

"It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin doors, crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags and importuning every passenger for an alms. These mothers, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants: who as they grow up either turn thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country to fight for the Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbadoes."

Brian Donohue,

Sometimes the level of commentary is really dispiriting...

If you knew anything about Ireland, you would know that Ireland is one of the few countries in the world where GDP and GNP are far apart. Ireland's GDP includes a vast amount of foreign source corporate profits that are being laundered through Ireland. Ireland's GNP consists of the income earned by the Irish people (the Irish people in Ireland).

For Ireland GNP is about 20% lower than GDP.

For a useful discussion see "Ireland is the wealthiest economy in Europe…or not" (FT). Quote

"Gross domestic product (GDP) – the product generated in a country- is similar to the gross national product (GNP) – the income of the country’s residents, in most countries. But Ireland is one of the few countries where the two measures are significantly different and the gap between the two has been widening over time. As Patrick Honohan (World Bank and CEPR) and Brendan Walsh (University College, Dublin) pointed out in a Brooking paper on economic activity, Ireland has by far the lowest standard rate of corporation tax on manufacturing among the advanced economies, resulting in multinational companies “locating a very high fraction of the enterprise’s global profits in Ireland (..) [but] in many cases, the huge profits recorded by the Irish affiliates have very little to do with the manufacturing activities being conducted in Ireland.”"

Facebook is a good example. Facebook launders its profits through Ireland. The (US) IRS views this as a set of sham transactions and wants to impose a tax bill of $5 billion (plus penalties and interest). Facebook Ireland isn't shy about its tax abuses. Quote

"Facebook defends its €3.4m tax bill as Irish revenues rocket" (

"The Dublin-based firm, which serves as Facebook's international HQ, accounted for 47pc of Facebook's global revenues of $12.46bn as the Irish unit's revenues increased by 62.5pc over the 12 months. However, in spite of the growing importance of Facebook Ireland to the social media giant's worldwide operations, its corporate tax bill rose by only €1.1m to €3.4m last year. The accounts just filed with the Companies Office show that the firm recorded pre-tax profits of €12.8m. The low profits - which represent a 76pc jump on the 2013 pre-tax profits of €7.29m - are primarily due to the firm's large administrative expenses rising by 62.5pc, from €2.9bn to €4.73bn. These administrative expenses are mainly made up of royalty payments and fees to other Facebook entities."

"Numbers employed at the firm last year increased from 425 to 478. The pay bill, including salaries, share-based payment and pension payments, totalled €57.6m - or an average of €120,000 each. The average salary is inflated as it includes pay to executive directors and €9.79m in share-based payments while the pay-pot also included €39.98m in salaries and other benefits of €7.7m."

Facebook is just one example. Predictably Apple, Microsoft, and Google also show as major corporate tax abusers (using Ireland for tax laundering).

A good model of the Irish economy is that Ireland did rather well as an offshore European hub for multinationals up until sometime after 2000. At that point Ireland got caught up in the financial bubble and predictably crashed in 2007/8. Ireland (like many other countries) is still trying to recover from the crash.

Impressive fact-filled rambling tangential comment Peter. Thanks!

You good with per capita GNI? Well, you'll like this story. It's about a charming, rural, bucolic country that Art Deco misses that has grown to join the world's Eurotrash. Sad.

There are several Indian reservations which are, on paper, among the richest places in the country because of the casino money. But they sure as hell don't look like the richest places in America. No one is jealous of the people there.* Paper isn't real life. In real life, actual witness testimony from travelers, though potentially biased, will give you a much more accurate picture of life in the land than a one dimensional, manipulatable statistic.

*I'm talking here about real Indians, not those wannabees in Connecticut.

It’s about a charming, rural, bucolic country that Art Deco misses that has grown to join the world’s Eurotrash.

Most of the population remains small town and rural, and the countryside is still there. There are, however, a critical mass of young women who will give a perfect stranger a blow job at an Eminem concert and a critical mass of young men who accept it in that setting. There is also a critical mass of people under the illusion that Mary Robinson was ever a decent human being. The Irish used to be better than that.

If you knew anything about Ireland, you would know that Ireland is one of the few countries in the world where GDP and GNP are far apart

Cut the 20% off. Ireland still compares satisfactorily to every part of the UK outside of greater London, the densely settled portions of the Home Counties, and Oxfordshire. 'dearieme' was talking rot.

Brian Donohue,

GNI is fine. OK, not really. See the article below.

Here are the 2014 per-capita numbers (latest year) from your source. GDP comes first, then GNI.

Current USD - $54,339, $46,520 (Atlas Method)

Current LCU - 40,957, 35,512

Constant 2005 USD - $52,219, $45,625

Constant LCU - 39,467, 34,349

PPP Current USD - $49,393, $42,830

PPP 2011 USD - $48,400, $42,012

The GDP / GNI ratio ranges from 1.145 to 1.168. The FT chart shows that GNP to GDP ratio bottomed out in 2011 and risen a bit since them. The FT data shows that Ireland is richer than the Netherlands on a GDP per-capita basis but between Finland and France on a GNP per-capita basis.

From the "Doing the maths: how real is Ireland's economic growth?" ( Quote

"It is for this reason that gross national product (GNP), which excludes undistributed multinational profits, is the usually preferred measure of Irish economic output. Unlike most countries, where GDP and GNP are virtually synonymous, the gap between Irish GDP and GNP is enormous - and still widening. The ESRI estimates that the value of Irish GDP in 2015 was €213bn, but the value of GNP was almost 15pc smaller, at just €182bn. For 2016, the ESRI is forecasting GDP of €232bn and GNP of €200bn."

"However, having largely relied on GNP to gauge the true level of our economic output, there are now growing indications that it too is a flawed measure. The first sign that there might be less to Irish GNP than meets the eye came in a 2013 ESRI paper by John FitzGerald."

"With GDP and now GNP having been apparently skewed by factors such as non-repatriated profits, companies re-registering and now tax inversions, readers of Irish economic statistics would be well advised to proceed with caution."

But read it all.

Household final consumption expenditure (per capita) in the Irish Republic was 70% of that of the UK in 1990 and 84% of that of the UK in 2015 (i.e. better than Wales, Ulster, the North of England, and the Midlands).

Subsidised by the UK? One could make a good case that Ireland had been subsidising the rest of the UK for centuries. But let's look at just the twenties.

Fact: In 1929 German war reparations amounted to 12.4% of government spending; 18% of Ireland's was on land annuities to UK (land annuities )

Source (further citation within):

The deforestation of Ireland was a subsidy to the Royal Navy.

After decades of independent poverty,

Per Angus Maddison, Ireland's per capita income was about 55% of that of Britain during the period running from 1871 to 1933, fell to about 45% of that of Britain during the Depression and the war (i.e. by 1947), then increased to 55% again by 1967, 63% by 1979, 72% by 1990, and 100% by 1999.

Britain's economic performance is likely somewhat impaired by the large population of sneering idiots in its university educated sector.

Oh yes. It's a great deal that Ireland has, it gets German people's tax money from the EU, and Germans who don't like paying taxes can use Ireland as a tax haven. It's a win win situation. Of course, it's a lose lose situation for Germany and other contributing countries. I'm sure the Irish are hoping that Holocaust guilt stays strong, else Germany may decide to do what Britain did.

Obviously, if your grandparent was merely born in Ireland without being a citizen, you may not be entitled to such...

...non-obviously, as presented here, that "…anyone with a grandparent born in Ireland is entitled to claim Irish citizenship" -- {but only applies to British citizens}.

For a moment I somehow thought I could get an Irish passport as an American... since my grandmother was born in Ireland as an Irish citizen.

I think this applies to everyone, not just British citizens.

See here:

Yes, you can claim citizenship. Get on that register.

Yes, you are eligible. I am a US citizen with an Irish-born grandparent and I claimed my Irish citizenship a few years back. You need a chain of birth certificates to establish the claim. It was about 100 euros when I applied in 2008.

it's even more generous (desperate?) than that: Ireland will grant citizenship to people with a grandparent born in Northern Ireland, which is as we all know part of the U.K.

That's because of their irredentist claim to N Ireland, which for many years was enshrined in their constitution.

'That’s because of their irredentist claim to N Ireland'

Well, it still remains a more modest claim than that of the UK, which previously declared ownership of the entire island.

no, this isn't true, the UK makes no claim over Ireland. You must've missed the whole "home rule" saga 100 years ago.

It's because of an international treaty signed by parties including the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Arghhh, spittle, Papist scum. "To hell or Connaught!"

Or if you're Tony Cascarino, you don't even need any Irish roots whatsoever.

Class comment : )

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“Rio — 2016, a Brand New World”
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Anyone born in Northern Ireland is also eligible. That's 33% of the Republic's population.

Although, obviously, the majority of Ulstermen wouldn't be found dead with Irish citizenship.

Not sure. Grass really has been greener on the non UK side for the past few decades.

No Irish need apply.

So the subtext here is that Ireland is for the Irish. If you want to join, then you are obligated to honour the Irish constitution, its cultural heritage, and you're expected to realign your loyalties with the Irish state and its people. A part of the Irish identity is being a member of Europe, and specifically the European Union. According to the article, if you share in Ireland's past through ancestry, and you wish to adopt the Irish identity going forward, then the Irish should l be happy to have you.

Sounds like something UKIP would argue.

Ukip did not argue that being a member of the EU was part of British identity, though! There are a few lacunae in the article - namely that Ireland has much larger Polish and Lithuanian communities than the UK, as a proportion of the population, with no apparent prospect of assimilation into the ancient Celtic yadda yadda. (And perhaps the most significant Lithuanian community anywhere outside those two countries.) Neither side really seems to care. The gap between Irish versus Catholic C/E European social mores turns out to be pretty small, so who needs to assimilate? But these are hundreds of thousands of people who need to be at least considered when asking what modern Ireland means - are they part of the family? and if so, what does the family even mean?


"So the subtext here is that Ireland is for the Irish"

Exactly. Some number of years ago, Ireland had a national referendum on birth-right citizenship. Every political party favored birth-right citizenship. The people of Ireland voted 80:20 against it.

My brother did this a few years back. Got into a slight pickle with US visas, got his Irish passport and sailed back into the US.

The claim was on the basis of one g-mother born in Ulster. What was required then was three birth certificates and two marriage. Logically, for her and Pops one certificate each and just the one for brother. Nothing else required at all in the late 90s.

Ireland was a decent society 30 years ago. Now it's a collecting pool of Scandinavians with brogues. Screw 'em.

L for loser, loser of history. At least from your perspective, thousands of women are still driven out of the country to assert their rights of self-ownership.

"Right of self-ownership' would be the euphamism employed for hiring a perverted obstetrician to decerebrate an unborn child or soak it in caustic brine.

Some believe that some cells give them the pretext they were looking for to cast women into the punishments they feel are merited by -12th century Middle Eastern sins. Others don't.

Obviously you are being disingenuous in pretending you do not even know the arguments of the pro-life

"Obviously you are being disingenuous in pretending you do not even know the arguments of the pro-life"

Which ones? "The cells are people, too" one?

Hopefully no one decides you are just a bunch of cells.

Just another push in the effort to deterritorialize everything. God forbid people assert any particular right to live, populate, and develop their land in peace. Why, a complete stranger has as much claim to their land, and therefore citizenship, as any other. If you be granted "Irish citizenship" even if you've lived your entire life outside Ireland, then Irish citizenship means nothing.

I hope young people enjoy their deracinated, artificial, ephemeral, totalitarianized lives. The saps.


Exactly. Some number of years ago, Ireland had a national referendum on birth-right citizenship. Every political party favored birth-right citizenship. The people of Ireland voted 80:20 against it.

Interesting to see how reliable it is that any mention of Ireland brings out commentators who are hostile to the British on behalf of the Irish, who generally are not.

Incidentally, if you qualify for Irish citizenship, then in effect you also qualify for British, even if you never actually take out British citizenship. That is because Ireland, the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands form what is called the common travel area, within which there are no border formalities. All Irish citizens have automatic right of residence in the UK, and also all the other rights of British citizens, such as the right to work, benefits, free health care and the right to vote and stand for office. And vice versa for British citizens in Ireland. In effect, in UK law, Ireland is defined to be sovereign, but not foreign.

Check the comments above. dearieme was the first to start, and not on behalf of the Irish.

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