Feb 2008

  1. Welcome
  2. Action needed: RTE medium-wave shutdown
  3. Update: Emigrant Political Participation
  4. Adoption and citizenship
  5. Member alert: membership fee eliminated
  6. Event roundup
  7. On our website


Welcome to Ean's newsletter. We send out this email bulletin every month to keep you informed about issues affecting the Irish abroad as well as those intending to emigrate or to return.

Your suggestions are welcome! If you'd like to share any aspect of your work, or would like to alert those working with emigrants about any issue that may affect them, or just have thoughts you'd like to express, let me know at noreen@ean.ie

Thanks! I always welcome your feedback. - Noreen Bowden

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Attention members! Take action on RTE's medium-wave shutdown

The controversy over RTE's decision to shut down medium wave continues to grow. At Ean we are concerned that the shutdown of Radio 1 on medium wave will mean the loss of a valuable link with Ireland for many of the Irish in Britain. We are particularly concerned about the effect on the vulnerable elderly. RTE suggests that people can simply switch over to longwave, despite acknowledging that there is a serious problem with longwave reception at night in the UK, due to interference from other stations.

The latest coverage includes an article in this week's Irish Post, entitled, "RTE switchover will hit the vulnerable hardest". The article quotes Ean director Noreen Bowden as saying, "This issue is particularly important for our older emigrants who value RTE's services as a powerful link with home".

At Ean we are campaigning extensively on this issue, and have written to the Director General of RTE, the head of the RTE Authority, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the Minister for Communications, among others. The issue will be discussed on March 4 at a meeting between the Oireachtas Committee on Communications and RTE.

We are asking all of our members, particularly those based in Britain, to take action:
1 - Contact RTE on this issue by writing to them at info@rte.ie and let them know how the move will affect you or your clients.
2 - Write to the Minister for Foreign Affairs at Iveagh House, 79-80 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2.
3 - Spread the word to your colleagues and contacts, and request that they send letters as well.
4 - Drop me a line and fill me in your efforts!

Do you have any comments on this issue? Let me know at noreen@ean.ie.

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Update: Emigrant political participation

Ean has had an article published on the news website IrishEmigrant.com, highlighting the issue of emigrant voting rights. The article gives a summary of the various policies that other nations have adopted toward the granting of rights to their emigrants living abroad.

Well over 100 countries give their expats the right to participate in some way in the political process, and there's an enormous variety in the structures that have been introduced. Some countries let all their expats vote, others limit it to those who have been gone for a limited number of years. Some allow their emigrants vote in the constituency in which they last lived, while others reserve seats in their parliaments. The article suggests it may be time for Ireland to consider the options and join the growing trend of countries allowing their emigrants to have a say in the political process.

See the entire article on the IrishEmigrant.com website - let me know if you have any comments by emailing me at noreen@ean.ie.

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Adoption and citizenship

Adoption issues affecting the Irish abroad have been making the news here this month. First, there was the recommendation from the Law Reform Commission that children adopted by at least one Irish citizen living anywhere in the world should continue to be entitled to Irish citizenship, as the law now allows. The current law says that once the adoption is recognised by the State, the child can be considered a citizen even if the family lives outside of Ireland. The Law Reform Commission's Report on Aspects of Intercountry Adoption Law recommends "that the law should remain as it is, particularly in view of the importance which the Irish diaspora attach to Irish citizenship".

The recommendation was prompted by the case of Tristan Dowse, who had been adopted in Indonesia by an Irish-born man and his wife; in that case, the child was returned to an orphanage by his parents. The Attorney General asked the Law Reform Commission in 2005 to consider the rights of a child resident outside the State who had been adopted by an Irish citizen abroad, and also to consider the most effect manner of ensure the performance of the constitutional and legal duties of the adoptive parents and also the State's duties toward the child. The report noted that the State's duties are limited under the constitution to the extend that ensuring the rights of the child to the extent that this is "practicable". It recommends the Attorney General as "the most appropriate officer of the State to protect the rights of a vulnerable child subject to relevant principles of international law".

The second development highlighting the issue of adoption by the Irish abroad was the story of a Boston-based couple who had adopted a child in Michigan. Michael Connolly and Barbara Mee, who moved to America in 1991, had hoped to move home to Galway. The couple say that they were told by the Adoption Board of Ireland that the child was not eligible for Irish citizenship because they had not lived in the same 'country' where the child was adopted for a year, as the agency requires; the agency regards Massachusetts and Michigan as two different countries because each state has its own adoption laws. The Adoption Board says it has asked the Attorney General to look into the matter. The couple is looking into legal options, but say they will not move home to a country where their child will be treated as an illegal alien.

I will do more research into issues affecting adopted children living abroad and give an update in the next issue. In the meantime, let me know if you are aware of any difficulties involving adoptions for Irish people who live abroad. Drop a line to Noreen@ean.ie. Also let me know if there's any other issue you'd like more information on!

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Member alert: Membership fee eliminated

Our board has taken the decision to eliminate membership fees. Your membership will be automatically renewed from now on, simplifying our administration and eliminating any potential hardship for our members. Do you know any group or individual who might be interested in joining Ean? Let me know at noreen@ean.ie.

A reminder for all our members! I hope by now that you've all had the opportunity to listen to the podcast of our December AGM. We recorded all the proceedings so that our international members could have access to the events of the day. All the presentations are still available for downloading from our homepage at Ean's website.

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Event roundup

See more on these and other upcoming events in our website's Events section.

- Migration Studies in Ireland. Trinity College, March 26-28, 2008
- Children and Migration. UCC, April 9-11, 2008
- Nations, Diasporas, Identities. New Zealand, March 27-30, 2008
- Irish and Scottish Migration, Aberdeen. Through June 2008
- Plus, the excellent exhibit "Strangers to Citizens: The Irish in Europe, 1600-1800" is continuing at the National Library's Genealogical Office on Kildare Street in Dublin.

Have an event you'd like to publicise to our members? Drop a line to noreen@ean.ie

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On our website

Stay on top of emigrant-related news and media in Ireland through our Newswatch section on our website. Through this blog-style feature we track media articles related to emigrants, with brief posts and links to additional information.

Here are links to a few of the latest articles - see the site for more!

"World wide webs" diaspora book published by Australian think tank
Irish Times: ‘growing unease’ over RTE move
Irish News highlights medium-wave shutdown in North
1700 returning Irish affected by habitual residency: Times
Irishman’s death related to his undocumented status?
Undocumented resolution unlikely: Ahern
NY Times speculates on Irish return to city

The Newswatch section is updated several times a week. Feel free to send on suggestions!

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Ean - Ireland's emigrant network