Furriners keep out

By | February 5, 2008

Fintan O’Toole highlights the bizarre rules on marriage between, or to, furriners laid out in the new Immigration Bill…

The Minister can refuse permission outright on a number of grounds, including the vague catch-all that the marriage “would not be in the interests of public security, public policy or public order”. Essentially, a politician will have the personal power to decide whether an Irish citizen can marry a foreigner, or whether two foreigners can marry each other…

Not only that, but the Bill will criminalise any priest or registrar who performs a wedding ceremony for two people who do not have the Minister’s permission to marry. The wording would seem, in fact, to criminalise anyone who is a witness at such a ceremony, or even someone who drives the happy couple to the altar: “A person who knowingly a) solemnises or permits the solemnisation of a form of marriage which is, under this section, not a valid marriage, b) is a party to such a form of marriage, or c) facilitates such a form of marriage, shall be guilty of an offence.”

Readers may imagine that these extraordinary provisions are being put forward as a way to stop foreign people contracting marriages with Irish citizens for no other reason than to acquire residency rights. But this is not so – Irish law does not at the moment confer any such rights by reason of marriage alone and the Bill elsewhere re-enforces this state of affairs. So the Bill’s bizarre powers are simply an exercise in absurdly overbearing control-freakery.

What’s happening here is an extreme example of the way normally sensible people lose the run of themselves when it comes to immigration. If, in any other area, the Government took to itself such sweeping powers to interfere in personal and family life, people would be up in arms. One would expect the churches, for example, to be rather upset about the notion that Brian Lenihan should take the place of God in the sacrament of marriage. But when it comes to legislating for migration, the first impulse is to punish, to control, to suspect.”

12 thoughts on “Furriners keep out

  1. donkykemore

    This is O Toole’s article , albeit a shortened version .
    The impression may be mistakenly taken that the author here is GUBU.
    Fintan O Toole wrote this in Irish Times 5.Feb 08
    Mr O Toole illustrates very forcibly the authoritarian manner in which marriages will be ‘allowed’ by the minister for Justice.
    This is as fundamentalist a law than the Islamist one forbidding women from driving cars in Saudi.
    Brian Lenihan Snr. ( RIP) was in many ways a reformist . He utterly changed the censorship laws in a manner which was brave and innovative for its time – a time when Lady Chatterley’s lover , Ulysess among a large slice of the classical English literature cannon of the time .
    Brian Snr was often lampooned for his fervour and frenetic enthusiasm- the clown who warmed up the Ard Fheis for Haughey.
    He is remembered mostly for the farce he made of his run for the presidency , which might not have happened had not Flynn made a comment re Robinson and her new fonud interest in her family .
    It is unfortunate that a skilled spoofer was undone by a sly buffoon.
    Brian Jnr is all for nanny -stateism to the extent of being totalitarian.
    Beware this minister – they say he’s being groomed .
    Mr O Toole quite rightly is flagging a cautionary note here.

  2. Andrew Lawlor

    To be fair to Sarah, Donkykemore (is that a typo? Should it be Don Kylemore, as your website suggests?), I think the quotation marks around the piece indicate that GUBU is not the author.

    As for the particular piece of legislation involved, I can only say that I was gobsmacked on reading the article. Talk about over-egging the pudding. What is coming next? Should we make foreign nationals easily identifiable by forcing them to wear some insignia on their outer clothing? Maybe a bright yellow star. (Hmmm.. has this been done before?)

    (I’m sure Crewser thinks this is a great idea. After all it comes from a man appointed by the greatest leader this country has ever seen.)

    I did some in depth research into public reaction to this new measure. I mentioned it to my wife last night as she was trying to concentrate on Desperate Housewives. Her reaction? ‘That sounds like a police state.’ So that’s pretty conclusive, then.

  3. Andrew Lawlor

    Sarah, I also find ‘foreigners’ difficult to spell. I can never remember if it breaks the i before e rule or not, but your spelling is a total disgrace. You’ll never get Fanny Water’s IT slot if you don’t shape up!!

  4. donkykemore

    You’re right Andrew. In my haste to read Sarah’s ever engaging blog I made a presumption towards an impression that was not necessarily given -( doesn’t sound right)- – I took an impression that was not not intended – or given.
    that still isn’t right but I know you are all expansive and imaginative thinkers on this most worthy blog so you’ll figure it out.
    Blame my sense of urgency to engage – Sarah is indeed engaging even if she does gag me from time to time – perhaps deservedly so when she does.
    My point however is that whereas the father ( Brian Snr ) was seen as a colorful and amiable buffoon – the son is viewed with a benign patrimony which can be mistaken Oligarchy or blatant fascism.

    donkylemore – is a composition derived from my first name and the name of my boat ( which is named after as lake in Connemara -hence the somewhat amorphous construction- donkylemore )- others have commented less flatteringly on the sobriquet , but I’m sticking to it.

  5. AvoidingLife

    That is beyond insane. My brother is marrying an American girl later this year. I wonder how this will affect them. I married an American in America with no problems whatsoever, where you would expect to find such idiotic rules as those outlined in the article. We now live here and he was granted a work problem within a week of arriving but has no interest in applying for Irish citizenship, indeed no need to, since getting the work permit. That is the main issue though, yes you may not be able to be an instant citizen just by marrying one, but it does mean you automatically get a work permit. Not that this gives any need for the legislation above.

    However it is interesting to note that in all his Irish work experience, no one has once asked if he was eligible to work in Ireland. I wonder if he was not white or had a slightly different accent would that have happened!

  6. donkykemore

    Typically Irish ; while we are imposing special conditions for foreigners and immigrants , we as a people have enjoyed ( after the No Dogs Or Irish period ) unlimited hospitality most particularly in the USA , where we are still demanding special treatment ahead of the Hispanocs – Latinos ; the Asians etc.
    We were given Green visas – Morrison visas and now that they have a real problem with illegals we still want our people treated as a special cases
    Why do we trumpet our ‘ great and cordial relations ‘ wherever we go on St Patrick’s day – with the host country , and impose these truly draconian measures on their citizens when they arrive here.
    More particularly and poignantly , if we have the misfortune to incur an illness or misadventure abroad , we demand and most often receive a service immensely most professional and hospitable than our own at home . At the same time we subject with innumerable hoops to get on a doctors panel here –
    Our sense of proportionality fails us when confronted with the reality .
    Our sense of the privalage of being Irish seems to bestow on us hubrism and a , wollyheaded . shallow and selfish sense of equality.

  7. V

    Yet another example of the tried and tested FF technique of attempting to second guess a ‘hidden debate’. Assuming that their average voter is a low level racist and producing a document to appease exactly that type of person while safe in the knowledge that the level of the debate on the issue won’t take any giant leaps forward anytime soon. It gives the likes of the ‘ICP’ everything while ignoring the ‘ICI’

  8. Gerry

    This, as they used to say, is a thundering disgrace.I am completely at a loss here. What is the minister meant to make his decision based on? the cut of their jib? I married a furriner in Ireland (English woman). I have no idea how i would have proven the validity of my marriage to a minister had I asked. at least I got to meet the priest. I would also have refused to give any details to the government.

    What is this legislation supposed to promote, Apart from making it clear immigrants are either unwelcome or in Ireland on sufferance it is very hard to see a wider point here.

    I have not seen anything on this apart from O’Toole’s article. Is there a wider context someone can explain to me?

  9. Niall

    This is crazy.

    I’m feeling a little slow today. It took me ages to figure out what ‘furriners’ were. For some reason, I imagined that they made sadels or horse-shoes.

  10. donkykemore

    They used to say that Bertie was a chip off the old BOLOK( _ haughy)
    Brian Lenihan is a splinter off the old likeable rogue whose money for his liver transplant haughie blew on meals and shirts , horses , yachts and all things regared as sinae qua nons for the Emperor
    Oh and of course we shouldn’t forget the portrait of the little squireen on horseback outside Kinseally., replete with Jodhpurs and swagger stick.

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