Tuesday 6 December 2016

Stateless toddler finds a 'home' with help from Irish granddad

Published 26/11/2010 | 05:00

Patrick Chandler with his wife Fiona Zou and their daughter Rachel in China. Photo: Reuters
Patrick Chandler with his wife Fiona Zou and their daughter Rachel in China. Photo: Reuters

MEET an unlikely Irish young lady. She was born in China to a Canadian father and a Chinese mother.

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But because the two-year-old's parents, Fiona Zou and Patrick Chandler, were not married, the Chinese wouldn't give her citizenship. And because her dad was born in Libya, neither would the Canadians. So Rachel Chandler remained stateless -- not to mention passport-less -- for her first 14 months on earth.

But the same citizenship rule that has come to the aid of Ireland football managers including Jack Charlton and Giovanni Trapattoni over the past 25 years has now also rescued her. Rachel's paternal grandfather was born here before emigrating to Canada four decades ago and, under our citizenship rules, that is enough to secure Irish nationality for his grandchildren.

"It really did not take long to get Irish citizenship for her, once we realised that it was an option," Patrick (22), an English teacher in Beijing, said. "I also applied for Irish citizenship for myself, because I figured that it might look strange to some customs officials at an airport when my family travels -- seeing a Canadian, a Chinese, and an Irish baby travelling together."

Irish Independent

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