Ian O'Doherty makes a fair point in his article in the Irish Independent this week, but misses the real issue.
If we were really serious about engaging with our scattered Irish diaspora, we would allow them to emigrate here and work and contribute to Ireland inc, and take out citizenship. As it stands, most of our 'cousins' who would love to carry an Irish passport (and pay well for it) are prevented from doing so by our citizenship laws which were changed to exclude third generation Irish in the 1990's, and thus very few Americans, or Argentinians, or Australians, or Canadians ever consider coming here to live, retire and work as our residency visa laws are archaic! Ireland's loss surely...and a wee bit of green-tinted paper is a poor substitute for the real thing. Most Irish in those countries trace their Irishness to a man or woman who fled Ireland in the period 1840-1900. Our law on claiming Irish citizenship really only allows 20th century emigrants descendants to claim an Irish passport (you are limited to having had a parent or grand-parent born in Ireland). We have effectively denied all Irish rights to the bulk of our diaspora, the descendants to the poor, desperate and incredibly brave ones who left Ireland in the decades immediately after the Famine. Personally I would offer passports to anyone who can prove their lineage from that period. They after all paved the way for the rest of us, sent monies home and kept the home fires burning, and very many of them got precious little thanks for it! What do you think?