The Justice Minister, Michael McDowell, has published the bill for the proposed constitutional amendment limiting the right to Irish citizenship for children of foreign nationals born here.

However, the Opposition is continuing to protest against what it says is a lack of consultation over the measure.

The Labour leader Pat Rabbitte has said that his party will take legal advice and will listen to the views of interested people before deciding whether to oppose the forthcoming referendum on citizenship. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Six-One News, Mr Rabbitte said he did not believe that everyone who landed in Ireland should automatically be entitled to citizenship.

Michael McDowell, also speaking on RTÉ, defended the decision to hold the referendum on the same day as the local and European elections.

He said that if Fianna Fáil had taken advice on the matter from American PR experts as opposition parties claimed, it was news to him.

The amendment proposes that persons born here who do not have at least one parent entitled to citizenship, will not themselves be entitled to Irish citizenship, unless that is provided for by law.

The amendment would not apply to anyone born before the proposed constitutional change was enacted.
Separately, the Opposition has also claimed in the Dáil that the Government is trying to railroad through the proposed amendment.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, Labour leader Pat Rabbitte, and Dan Boyle of the Greens claimed there was little point in the house returning early to debate the measure as there will be no votes and no ministerial questions.

The Opposition were reacting to the Government proposal that the Dáil return next Wednesday and Thursday and sit until 6.30pm each day to debate the proposed referendum.

The proposed amendment:

1. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Constitution, a person born in the island of Ireland which includes its islands and seas, and who does not have at the time of his or her birth, at least one parent who is an Irish citizen or entitled to be a Irish citizen is not entitled to Irish citizenship or nationality, unless otherwise provided for by law.

2. This section shall not apply to persons born before the date of the enactment of this section.