Thursday 23 May 2019

Revealed: New twist in Cascarino row


THE controversy surrounding the eligibility of Tony Cascarino to play football for Ireland has taken a bizarre new twist with the revelation that his mother was apparently granted Irish citizenship unknown to her and without her consent.

The Sunday Independent has learned that in 1985, Theresa O'Malley's name was entered in the Foreign Births Register in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Dublin a short time a matter of weeks, if not days before that of her son Tony.

Mr Cascarino's name was also registered in 1985 in advance of the first of his record 88 caps for Ireland.

It is difficult to understand how Theresa Cascarino's name could have been entered in the Foreign Births Register without her prior consent or knowledge. However, yesterday, her son firmly indicated that this was actually the case.

He confessed to being "totally baffled" by the latest development. He said he had checked the situation with his mother and, he maintained, she was "equally baffled". He stressed that she had not initiated any moves to have her name included on the Foreign Births Register.

He said: "This is a very, very funny one. But to be honest with you I don't want to get involved in a tit-for-tat with the FAI. They say one thing, I say another in my book, and I stand by what I say in my book. I just hope the matter rests there."

Mr Cascarino has said that because of "family sensitivities" he is unable to disclose in full detail why he believes he was ineligible to play for Ireland. However, the Sunday Independent understands that the FAI and the Department of Foreign Affairs are aware of those sensitive family details.

Being so aware, the FAI was satisfied to issue a statement last week declaring Mr Cascarino was always eligible to play for Ireland.

However, irrespective of whether Mr Cascarino was indeed eligible, more potentially disturbing questions arise in relation to how his mother's name was included in the Foreign Births Register.

According to Department of Foreign Affairs documentation, a person whose mother or father was an Irish citizen at the time of his or her birth is automatically an Irish citizen, subject to the completion of certain procedures.

A person whose grandfather or grandmother, but not his or her parents, were born in Ireland may become an Irish citizen by registering in the Foreign Births Register at an Irish Embassy or Consular Office or at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin.

Last week, the FAI said Tony Cascarino was always eligible to become a citizen of the Republic of Ireland and was therefore always eligible to play for Ireland.

The FAI's statement contained three points which essentially disputed Mr Cascarino's claim that he was "a fraud, a fake Irishman".

"(1) If appropriate papers had been completed in 1985, Tony would have been granted a passport.

"(2) There is no evidence on record that Tony was ever refused a permanent Irish passport.

"(3) Tony sought a passport in 1996 and as granted one."

Mr Cascarino was given, on his application, what is known as a passport of restricted validity in 1985.

The football star has indicated that the FAI may not be "100 per cent right", even though he would be delighted if it was correct.

He said he had only one phone conversation with FAI president Bernard O'Byrne, and had seen a fax. "I've seen nothing else, and it's a bit more complicated than that."

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