Hundreds of thousands of Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, and probably many others can legally obtain Irish passports because of their ancestry. Why would you want to do that? Ask any of the 138 Irish passport holders who were safely evacuated from war-torn Lebanon a few days ago. They were able to get out safely when Americans and others could not, thanks to their passports and the prominent placement of the Irish Tricolours on the front of the two buses carrying them across the Syrian border.
One's Irishness, and in particular the carrying of an Irish passport, has helped many Irish citizens avoid potentially life-endangering situations. The Irish are known worldwide for being politically neutral. Irish humanitarian workers have often reported that they are able to win the confidence of needy groups in distressed situations.
In fact, the Irish passport has helped many get through places where they would have been killed or incarcerated had they been carrying an American or British passport. For instance, Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins was born in Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. He was the commanding officer of the Royal Irish Regiment of the British Army at the start of the Iraq war. He is now retired and works as a military consultant. He travels in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. He would never be able to travel in those areas if he used his British passport. However, Colonel Collins' Irish ancestry entitles him to legally carry an Irish passport, which, in turn, opens doors.
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