Dana in war of words with sister over citizenship cover-up claims
Published 08/10/2011 | 05:00
DANA Rosemary Scallon was locked in a war of words with her estranged sister Susan Stein last night, after they clashed over the date when Ms Scallon took out US citizenship.
Dana firmly denied her sister's claim that she had taken out US citizenship before she became a presidential candidate in 1997.
"I did not become a (US) citizen until 1999," said Dana. "I was not a citizen until 1999 so there was obviously a mistaken memory."
Speaking from the US yesterday, Ms Stein contradicted her sister and said Dana had taken out US citizenship some time before she was a candidate in the 1997 election.
Dana was also challenged on her claim that she had the same (dual citizenship) status of former president and Taoiseach, the late Eamon de Valera.
Denying she had tried to keep her US citizenship secret, Dana said: "Why would I? Wasn't de Valera (a US citizen)?"
But former minister Eamon O Cuiv, the grandson of Mr de Valera, pointed out significant differences.
"He (Dev) was an American citizen purely through birth, and because he was born in America didn't have to go through any ceremony or take any oath," said Mr O Cuiv.
Mr O Cuiv was referring to the oath that Dana took at the ceremony when she became a US citizen demanding she renounce her allegiance to the state where she had been a citizen.
Dana said yesterday that she read that section before taking the oath and told the official: "I can't sign this if I am going to hand over my Irish citizenship and he laughed and said 'you don't have to'."
However, an eminent senior counsel specialising in Constitution law questioned Dana's interpretation of the oath she had sworn that ended "so help me God".
"She took an oath that she was abjuring her loyalty to the state of which she was previously a citizen," he said .
This is the oath Dana that swore: "I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen."
Michael D Higgins, the front-runner in the race for the Aras, said he felt it was inappropriate that Dana had not revealed that she was a US citizen before announcing her candidacy for president of Ireland.
"I think it was inappropriate," said the Labour Party's candidate. "It would have been better if it had been out in front and if there was a response and the public had heard it."
At the time of going to press, Dana had not responded to questions asking for the specific dates when she became a US citizen or if she would abide by the words in the oath she had taken to become a US citizen.