Making ‘race’ an issue in the 2004 Irish Citizenship Referendum
in Defining events
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On 11 June 2004, the Irish electorate voted on the 'Twenty-seventh Amendment of the Constitution Bill' or, as it is more generally known, the Citizenship Referendum. This chapter presents Ireland's shift in emphasis regarding the meaning of citizenship and how it was expressed in the specific wording of the Constitution and in wider discourses of national identity and civil rights. In order to grasp the breadth of the issues involved, the chapter describes the key concepts of citizenship, 'race' and racialisation, and the state. It suggests that the Citizenship Act (2005) racialised Irish nationality. That is, it gave primary preference to bloodlines as its principal criterion for belonging, thus dividing Irish children into two categories with differential access to the rights and responsibilities accruing to citizens. They are Irish children and 'Irish-born children' ('IBC').

Defining events

Power, resistance and identity in twenty-first-century Ireland

Editors: Rosie Meade and Fiona Dukelow

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