Michael McDowell the Saddam Hussein of Ireland ?
Michael McDowell the Saddam Hussein of Ireland ?
There is one thing that we all share each year,
that is reflection, each New Year we refelect upon the year that has
passed and as we ourselves grow older, we reflect upon our lives, what
we have achieved and our goals for the future.
As Frank Sinatra once sang “regrets, I have a few, but then again, too few to mention”
There are certain points in your life that are
integral to the person that you have become, rights of passage,
character building events and in my case life changing situations,
would I be the person I am today had I not had my life?
Of course not!
I make no apologies for my life, it has not
been all good nor has it been all bad, it could not be everyones life
because everyone would not have survived it. I am grateful for my life,
in that I am still here to live it. I can wake each morning to the
certainty that I am loved.
What more could a man ask for?
Well, if you were to really push me… a country to call home would be nice.
For many years, I roamed Europe and the rest of
the world, it didn’t matter to me much and at times I quite enjoyed the
impermanence of it all, I actually loved Hotels and the fact that each
day the room was scrubbed clean to appear as if no-one had been there
Maybe it is age, or actually finding somewhere that I would like to call home that has changed that for me.
Ireland in 1997, seemed so ideal, small but
fairly modern, Europe but different, friendly people and a burgeoning
economy for business.
Now, that is just a memory for me, having just
made my third application for Irish citizenship ( will the third time
be a charm for me?) it is getting through my thick skull that I am not
necessarily wanted here. I grin weakly at people from all over the
world that assume that I received citizenship in Europe the moment I
put my foot outside Iraq ( or a team of bodyguards for that matter),
no, I’m afraid that part of the screenplay didn’t make it into the
And why have I been refused Irish citizenship
twice, I hear you ask, well on the first application which took five
years to process and was seemingly the longest case on file, it seems
that I applied three months too early. It only took the threat of a
High court action against Mr. McDowell to make a decision for them
after five years to point that out.
(Irish naturalisation law, deemed at the time
that a decision would be made on any case within six to eighteen months
of application, I waited five years, it’s quite possible that I could
still be waiting)
Obviously it was the only excuse they could come up with.
I should like to point out at this time that I do not have a criminal record, not even a parking ticket.
In the Autumn of 2001 three black GMCs pulled
up outside my hall door, I instantly recognised the men in suits and
sunglasses (yes, in real life they do dress like they’re in the movies)
As I opened my door and invited them in, it seemed almost like De ja vu.
They were American, they were from the CIA and
they had a proposition for me, do remember that the invasion of Iraq
did not start until March of 2003.
I was offered a job, to work for them in
Ireland, as usual I told them were to go and as usual they told me that
they would make my life here hell and I should never think that I would
get anything from Ireland.
Maybe this time they were telling the truth.
My second application which was lodged shortly
after the first refusal was met with a letter from the Dept of Justice
stating that I should not contact them until early 2008, it was 2006 at
the time, infuriated, I made my case on the Gerry Ryan radio show, in
which I called upon the then Minister for Justice Michael McDowell to
meet with me face to face in the radio station to discuss the matter on
air and let the listeners decide if I were fit to be an Irish citizen.
Unsurprisingly he declined my invitation, but did find the time in his
hectic shedule to refuse my second application “at the Ministers
discretion” two weeks later. It seems that at some point Michael
McDowell had changed immigration and nautralization laws to disallow
appeals of his decision and also naturalization through marriage to an
But I was free to apply again, which I did.
It is also noteworthy that any application no
matter how complete/incomplete can be accepted or declined by the
Minister for Justice, he has the final say, no matter what and can
grant or refuse as he wishes. He at his discretion can waive certain
requirements to issue naturalisation or in reverse can refuse an
application simply because “ In the ministers view and upon
reccomendations made to him , the minister does not feel that you would
be a good citizen for Ireland”
I have received my letter confirming receipt of
my application and have also been told that I may contact the
citizenship dept, but anyone who has had the misfortune of trying to
make that call knows that the chances of getting through are the same
as winning the Irish lottery.
On the one occasion that I did get through,as
soon as I gave my name I was immediately put on hold while the person
on the other end went in search of a supervisor. The lady in question
informed me that because of a backlog of 17,800 cases it could be “ Two
and a half, three maybe four years before we get to look at your case.”
Now when I sit in a district court on any given
day and see some of the people who have been granted citizenship to
this fair land, who cannot speak English well, write their names or on
one particular occasion didn’t actually know what it was they were
there for, getting citizenship, I do ask myself why?
Is it so wrong to be educated, slightly
famous/infamous (you choose) be married to an Irishwoman and have three
Irish born children?
Or maybe I should just forget about it and find somewhere that might actually want me.
I think the latter is the better option, don’t you?
This a letter between the Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland and the
Minister of Justice, Equality and Law reform, Mr Michael McDowell. One
of twenty, the Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Aherne represented my interests in
all cases, you can see that the Taoiseach had no influence over his
Minister with regard to my application for Naturalisation.
Me and prime minister of Ireland Mr.Bertie Aherne.
This is a letter from the Minister of Justice Mr McDowell to me, I had
asked for a personal meeting to explain my case, he declined to meet me
and as you can see from the letter itself that he asked me not to
contact his office until the first half of 2008, the send date on the
letter was 2006.
This is a letter from Minister McDowell informing the Taoiseach Mr.
Bertie Aherne of his decision to decline my application for
naturalization, the decision was made just weeks after I appeared on
the National radio station on a famous radio show The Gerry Ryan radio
show, I had been speaking to Gerry about my applications for
citizenship and the fact that the Minister Mr. McDowell had declined to
meet with me and I had asked Gerry to again ask the Minister if he
would meet with me on the show he declined, I pointed out on the show
that the Minister’s dept was full of corruption and I had the proof,
the Minister chose not to defend or refute my allegations. The Minister
did however find the time to look at my application and refuse it, even
though from his previous letter he assured me that due to the backlog
of 7,000 cases in front of mine he could not look at my case until the
first half of 2008. Mr. McDowell lost his Ministry in the 2007
Elections and also lost his seat in The Dail (Irish Parliament). Will
the game of cat and mouse between me and the Dept of Justice ever end?
Has my file with a big black X just been passed from one Minister to
the next or will the new Minister for Justice read my file with an open
mind? People have said that I am a politician, this is not true,
politicians have two and three faces, I cannot, I cannot be like them I
speak my mind, it is something that I have always done and cannot
change now and would not want to. I believe in freedom of speech,
justice and equality for all, I would just like to find some. According
to Irish Law if you are resident in the state of Ireland for five years
you are entitled to apply for naturalization, (I am here nearly 11
years). If you are married to an Irish citizen for three years or more
you are entitled to apply for naturalization ( my Irish wife and I are
married for seven years, we have three Irish born children) Under the
terms of legislation for naturalization, a refusal can be made if you
have a criminal record, I do not, I don’t even have a parking ticket.
When Mr. McDowell took his position as Minister for Justice he repealed
several laws with regard to naturalization, you cannot appeal his
decision in the High Court which was the case, marriage to an Irish
citizen is no longer a reason for naturalization, having Irish born
children no longer a guarantee of Irish naturalization and if both
parents are non-nationals the child if born after 1st January 2005 is
not automatically an Irish citizen. Some of these changes are fair
others not, but at the end of the day the Minister for Justice has the
power to grant or refuse any application at his discretion no matter
what the circumstances. Mr McDowell also refused to sign off on an
anti-racism law to which most of Europe subscribe. Is this democratic?
Or was Mr. McDowell the Saddam Hussein of Ireland? Under Mr. McDowell’s
watchful eye crime in Ireland surged by 28% racism in Ireland grew by
32% these figures are confirmed by Amnesty International which I am a