No. 217 NAI DFA 1/56A

Despatch from Eamon de Valera to J.H. Thomas (London)
(No. 15) (Copy)

Dublin, 6 February 1934


I have the honour to inform you that it is the intention of my Government to introduce in Dáil Éireann a Bill to regulate the acquisition and loss of Irish nationality and to make provision for the subject of Irish nationality generally.

2. The position with regard to Irish nationals under Article 3 of the Constitution is legally unsatisfactory, and the necessity for an appropriate code of Irish nationality law has long been felt. In addition, the existing commercial treaties between the Irish Free State and other countries, and the pressing need for the conclusion of extradition treaties with a number of countries with which experience has shown the making of extradition arrangements to be desirable, render it necessary for my Government to promote legislation in the Oireachtas providing for a suitable statutory definition of Irish nationals. My Government propose, therefore, to promote legislation in the immediate future. A Bill for that purpose is in course of preparation; the proposed Bill will contain a comprehensive code of Irish nationality law.

3. I enclose, for the information of the Government of the United Kingdom, a copy of the preliminary draft of the Heads of the proposed Bill1 which relate to the following matters, namely-

  1. the definition of natural born citizens.
  2. conditions of naturalisation.
  3. declaration of nationality upon marriage between parties one of whom is a citizen of the Irish Free State, and
  4. the status in Saorstát Éireann of the citizens of States in which citizens of the Irish Free State are or may become entitled by agreement or by law to the status of citizens of those States.

4. As you are aware, the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Acts which were passed before the establishment of the Irish Free State were not carried into effect in the Irish Free State in the provisions of the Constitution which relate to citizenship. The Acts referred to have never been regarded as being in force in the Irish Free State and, accordingly, have not been applied. In order, however, to remove all doubts on the matter those Acts will be repealed.

I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient,
humble servant'
[stamped] (Sgd.) Eamon de Valera
Minister for External Affairs

1 Not printed.

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