Sunday, April 30, 2006


Just flicking through, well, Flickr and I came across this, by Lorissa of the spectacular Apparently Nothing at All photoblog. It's the only time when making a dog's dinner of a photograph is a good thing...

Saturday, April 29, 2006

More Questions on Deporting Irish Citizens

Following on from yesterday's post, I asked a colleague in the Law School here about this issue. He suggested that the answer might lie in the idea that no right to abode is absolute. Theoretically, British citizens could be denied that right too. The problem is that since, under international agreements, a state can't render a person stateless. So the UK can't restart its 'send the convicts down under' policy. But, if this is the answer, it's not entirely satisfactory. If 'references in any Act of Parliament, other enactment or instrument whatsoever, whether passed or made before or after the passing of this Act, to foreigners, aliens, foreign countries...shall be construed' as if Ireland is not a foreign country, then how can practice be different for UK and Irish citizens?

Moreover, this raises some interesting questions about here? Northern Ireland works under the Good Friday Agreement treaty, but nonetheless a few questions are worth asking:

1. Does an Irish citizen deported from GB have a right to reside in Northern Ireland?

2. Does a Northern Ireland judge have a right to deport an Irish citizen to the Republic (even if they are actually from Northern Ireland?)?

3. What is the legal status of the deportations (that do happen) of people from GB to Northern Ireland? Is it the same as deportation to the Republic or different?

Answers on a postcard or in a comment box please!!!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Can Irish citizens be deported from the UK?

If you live in Ireland or the UK you're sure to have seen all the furore over foreign prisoners who were not deported at the end of their sentences. It's my understanding that foreigners are not automatically deported, but that - at least in part - the deportations happen on the recommendation of the judge at the person's trial. But are those orders necessarily legal in the case of Irish citizens? I don't think so.

The plurality of the prisoners came from either Jamaica or Nigeria (figures here) presumably largely involved in drug-running. But 50 of the prisoners were Irish. This is interesting. I haven't been able to google a case, but I know that, very often, when British people come before Irish courts, they are booted out of the country. And this obviously happens in the other direction too. But is it legal?

Well, I'm not sure. A Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK, in place since the 1920s, ostensibly removes immigration control from between the two islands. In other words, free movement exists (in practice at least). As Lord Filkin said in the Lords (in reply to a question by Lord Kilkooney),
The objective of the common travel area is that all the territories should be treated as a single unit for the purpose of travel within the area. A person's arrival in the United Kingdom from within the common travel area is not, therefore, subject to control except under very specific circumstances as outlined in the Immigration Act 1971 and the Control of Entry through the Republic of Ireland Order 1972...
The specific circumstances include
persons who are subject to directions given by the Secretary of State for their exclusion from the United Kingdom on the ground that their exclusion is conducive to the public good.
I assume these are the grounds under which deportations take place. But I doubt they can be effective. After all, there is no formal procedure for passport control between the UK and Ireland (though the ROI has instituted some limited controls in recent years).

Moreover, I'm not so sure that those special circumstances can be upheld in law.

The status of Irish people in Britain is unclear. According to an article published by Bernard Ryan in 2001 in the Modern Law Review,1
Even after the treaty of Amsterdam [where Ireland and the UK gained a derogation from the Schengen Agreement], it remains the case that the content of [the Common Travel Area] 'arrangements' have not been publicised by the two states.
According to Ryan, the agreement, motivated by the status of Northern Ireland, the need for Irish labour and the sheer difficulty in enforcing a border, started off essentially with free movement on condition that the Irish remained under the British border control umbrella. With the exception of WW2, this freedom based on a 'shared' immigration policy continues.2

Moreover, as Ryan notes, under the 1949 Ireland act, "'the Republic of Ireland is not a foreign country for the purposes of any law in force in any part of the United Kingdom' and 'references in any Act of Parliament, other enactment or instrument whatsoever, whether passed or made before or after the passing of this Act, to foreigners, aliens, foreign countries...shall be construed accordingly.'" I don't know how this is supposed to sit with the idea that there are special conditions under which the Irish right of abode in the UK can be removed.

So we're left with a bizarre situation. First, removing Irish people from the UK is probably illegal. Second, it's unenforceable. Third, it's happening. How strange.

1. I have a copy of Ryan's article, so give me a shout if you want it, replacing [*at*] with '@'.

2. Which in part explains the Constitutional Amendment to the constitution, adopted in 2004, removing the automatic right to Irish citizenship from the children of non-national parents.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Google Fight

Via In Fact, Ah's Rugby Musings, I came across Google Fight. Looks like I have a little way to go, though everyone gets beaten in turn.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Following on from my post on Robert Moses, Mel has some interesting links by way of an obituary for the prominent urban ecologist Jane Jacobs.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hmmm Haughey?

Er, is it just me or do you get a link to Charlie Haughey's obituaries when you type 'charles j Haughey' into the search function on the Irish Times's front page? Sadly even logged in you don't get to read the article, but methinks someone's confusing their public and private access rights in IT central!

Update Thanks to Dick O'Brien, I've put the link right.

Update 2 It seems the Irish Times have fixed their issue. I've kept a souvenir jpeg but it would be cruel (and in breach of copyright methinks) to publish it!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Hall on Start the Week

Radio 4's Start the Week began yesterday morning with a discussion of Waiting for Godot. Andrew Marr was speaking to Peter Hall, who was the first to stage the English translation of Godot. He was followed, by the way by, by a discussion of Orson Wells. On a scale of 1 to 10, how ashamed ought I to be that I've never seen Citizen Kane?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Guarding Snips

I know! It is just downright silly, but how often do you get a picture of a heavy policing contingent outside a wig shop?

Redz Quare

OK: so not really up there with my previous ponderous post on public celebrations of armies, but I like it nonetheless! Other pictures here.

1916 and Republicanism

Gerry O'Quigley has a great review of elements in the 1916 debate over on the consistently excellent ie-politics. It sits well, in a way, with his subsequent post on a paper by Robin Wilson and Rick Wilford here in Belfast.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Coffee's Clarendon Lectures

I see that John Coffee will be presenting the Clarendon Lectures in Oxford's Saïd Business School (next door to the railway station) on the 24th to the 26th of May. He'll be speaking (his current book is billed as the Clarendon lectures) on why the oversight and transparency systems (the 'gatekeepers' as he puts it) in the corporate world failed, thus leading to the collapse of Enron and other firms. Pity I won't be across the water for that. Coffee's a very engaging writer and I'm sure will be enormously rewarding in person.

Podcasts Etc

Via a mail (and here) on the Philosophy List Serve, a whole stack of philosophy anoraky listening pleasure!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Armies are Not a Source of Pride

One of the more bizarre images from the First World War – in hindsight at least – was occasioned by the start of the battle around what was to become the Ypres salient in 1914. Apparently, the people of the town all gathered on top of Ypres’ medieval walls in order to view the excitement. The town museum has photographs of the people, all presumably expecting a visual confirmation of the romantic stories of warfare that were the belligerent currency of the time. Of course, as we know now, what was to come was utterly beyond the imaginings of the people on the wall.

Mechanical, mass warfare would, within a few weeks, literally demolish the town, scatter the survivors of the bombardment and turn the region into a spectacle of graveyards.

I wonder how the people on the Ypres’ impotent, obsolete, comical ramparts would have felt if they had had an inkling of what the coming war would mean for the soldiers – buttons polished – who had marched through the town's gates to meet the German advance. Or what it would mean for them as the military machine enveloped them in its embrace.

But they could only see the world through the romantic sentiments about military life that were current at the time. Militaries were a source of national pride because they presented not just a vision of strength but because they presented a distillation of the national virtues: courage, loyalty, self-sacrifice and the like.

As Sunday’s festivities in Dublin suggest, people don’t seem yet to learn that armies are not sources of pride and grand spectacles only serve to obscure their true function in society.

There are two special elements in the story told about the Irish army. First, the army is the legitimate heir of Óglaigh na hÉireann. Ministers haven’t taken this line solely because they have made the foolish decision to compete with the Provos on their own ground. They also see the Irish army as the guarantor of freedom for the nation and as such as more than a facet of statehood. Second, people have spoken about the army’s proud record in United Nations peace-keeping operations, for instance in Katanga or more recently in East Timor and Sierra Leone.

It may well be that on some level these claims are true. But, if so, they are true not because of some special characteristics of the army as a corporate entity. They are true because Irish governments and society chose to employ the army as a tool in the name of some laudable aims. As such, pride in the army seems misplaced, except insofar as the army acts as a symbol of national virtues (I don’t actually think nations can have virtues, but that’s an argument for another day – my point is only that seeing things this way would be more coherent than simply having pride in the army per se).

So where does this leave the army? Well, it leaves the army where it belongs: as a tool of state power, and certainly not necessarily as a tool of state virtue. Given what they are designed to do – no matter how laudable the political aims behind their actions – one ought to regard armies as at best a sad necessity of statehood. Morally speaking, we’d be better off without them. Even if, pragmatically speaking, they are necessary, that doesn’t make them a good thing. It’s hard to see, in that case, armies are any more worth celebrating than rat-catchers.

That’s not to say that individual soldiers don’t display some of the virtues that we attach to armies. Soldiers might well be courageous, loyal and the like. But that only makes those soldiers admirable individuals. Their virtues can’t be transferred to the army itself.

Sunday’s parade was wrong because it celebrated the most unfortunate side of statehood: the necessity for states to reserve the use of force. Like the citizens of Ypres, we mistake the romance attached to armies for virtue.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Rising? When?

Here's a challenge. Without looking it up, do you know precisely what date the Easter Rising took place on in 1916? I got caught out on this a few days ago. Looked it up since (here)!