Bashir Otukoya

Thesis Title:



Marie-Luce Paris


Bheith Eireannach – becoming Irish – is a constitutional entitlement. Being born in the island of Ireland, entitles one to be a national of Ireland, and by definition, “part of the Irish Nation”. 'Others’ too are entitled to become “part of the Irish Nation” if they are qualified by law to be citizens of Ireland. In other words, to become an Irish national, one must first become a citizen of Ireland, and to become a citizen of Ireland, one must first be qualified in accordance with what is set down in law.

Citizenship, in its legal context, “is an institutional status from within which a person can address governments and other citizens and make claims about human rights”. In the Irish legal context, the terms ‘national’ and ‘citizen’ are often used synonymously to describe an individual whose rights and duties derive from formal membership to the State.

The term ‘nationality’ is undefined and is used in Article 9.1 and 9.2 of the constitution conjointly with the term ‘citizenship’. It is because of this synonymity that the term ‘nationality’ has been neglected, with John Handoll deeming it “largely redundant”.  However, this thesis posits that nationality as a term in the legal sense, bears a significant distinction from citizenship. For example, since a foreign-national cannot become an Irish national without first acquiring Irish citizenship, yet one who is born on the island of Ireland is automatically an Irish national, it is not made clear whether a legal distinction exist between the two terms, and with it, a division of legal rights. This thesis argues that in Ireland, the notion of nationality and citizenship are not synonymous and are differentiated as a matter of politics and law.

It is the aim of this thesis, therefore, to explore the legal differences and implications of being an Irish citizen against being an Irish national. It does so by focusing on the entirety of the process of citizenship acquisition by naturalisation in Ireland, compared with the naturalisation system of the Netherlands and France, as distinct from the process of nationality acquisition since this arises automatically from birth.



Bashir Otukoya is a PhD student in the UCD Sutherland School of Law, and also in the UCD School of Politics & International Relations. He holds a BAL, an LLB, as well as an LLM in Public Law. His current research focuses on citizenship, in particular, exploring the politico-legal process of becoming an Irish citizen (by naturalisation), and its influence on the sociological idea of being Irish.

Bashir is a member of the Irish Refugee Council and is experienced in advising migrants in politico-socio-economic integration matters. He is also an ex-board member of Dialogue & Diversity and has organised workshops and published reports on migrant integration. He is also a law Lecturer in Griffith College Dublin and Athlone Institute of Technology.


Presentations and/or Publications:


  • Bashir Otukoya, ‘One of US: Hyphenated Citizens as Outsiders”, in Bryan Fanning and Lucy Michael, Immigrants as Outsiders on the Island of Ireland (Forthcoming 2019, Manchester University Press, Ireland)
  • Bashir Otukoya, “Super-Citizens: Defining the Good Character requirement of the Irish Citizenship Acquisition Process”, (2018) 17(1) Hibernia Law Journal 73-90
  • Bashir Otukoya, “Neither here nor there: Residency as a condition for naturalisation”, (November 2017) Cork Online Law Review, (Cork, Ireland)
  • Bashir Otukoya, “Super-Citizens: Equal powers comes with greater responsibilities”, (December 2016) Cork Online Law Review, (Cork, Ireland)
  • Bashir Otukoya, ‘BheithÉireannach (Becoming Irish): Privilege or Right’ (2016) 27 Irish Studies in International Affairs 1-17
  • Bashir Otukoya and Sara Bojarczuk, ‘Integration Roadmap’, (Dialogue & Diversity, February 2016) <>
  • Bashir Otukoya, ‘I'm Irish, but the Irish don't know that I'm Irish’, (ie, August 2015)
  • Bashir Otukoya, ‘Safe Haven’ (, April 2015) <>



  • Bashir Otukoya, “Becoming European by Becoming Irish”, Guest Lecture, (Erasmus Graduate School of Law, Rotterdam; June 2019)
  • Bashir Otukoya, “Naturalised Citizens: The Good, the Semi, and the Super”, ATLAS AGORA Conference, (Queen Mary University, London; June 2017)
  • Bashir Otukoya, “Super-Citizens: Defining the Good Character requirement of the Irish Citizenship Acquisition Process”, TCD Law Student Colloquium, (Dublin, Ireland; February 2017)
  • Bashir Otukoya, “Part of the Nation: Becoming, but not being, Irish”, Political Studies Association Specialist Groups, Ethnopolitics, Global Justice & Human Rights, and Women & Politics conference (Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland; November 2016)
  • Bashir Otukoya, “Access to Citizenship by Naturalisation: Privilege or Right?”, European Consortium for Political Research, Biennial Graduate Student Conference, (Tartu, Estonia; July 2016)
  • Bashir Otukoya, “Becoming, but not really, Irish: ‘Inclusive Exclusive’ Citizenship”, UCD Sutherland School of Law, 10th Annual Postgraduate Workshop, (Dublin, Ireland; May 2016)
  • Bashir Otukoya, “BheithÉireannach (Becoming Irish): Privilege or Right?”, Royal Irish Academy, (Dublin, Ireland; May 2016)
  • Bashir Otukoya, “Irish Citizenship”, PubhD, Dublin PuBhD 7: Citizenship, The Leaving Cert, and Influenza A (Dublin, Ireland, November 2015)