Scottish religion writer applies for Irish nationality …

Cooney John official picture

John Cooney travelling abroad on one of his many foreign assignments.

By Aron Hegarty on February 6, 2020

A veteran Scottish religious affairs writer has applied for Irish citizenship after renouncing his UK citizenship this week in protest at Britain leaving the European Union (EU).

Blantyre-born born John Cooney holds the distinction of being the only journalist who has been the Religious Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times and the Irish Independent.

His books include a biography of John Charles McQuaid, Ruler of Catholic Ireland, now recognised as a classic work, and he is preparing a biography of Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich, Ireland’s Lost Peacemaker.

The 72-year-old from Glasgow said that since the Leave Campaign narrowly won the referendum on June 23, 2016, he was among the millions of British citizens who did not believe that a UK secession would actually happen.

“From 11pm on January 31, I have become technically, temporarily and territorially a non-citizen in Europe and the world,” he said of Brexit.

“On Wednesday, January 29 my British passport expired and I decided not to renew it in protest against the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.”

Mr Cooney, who is the father of Irish rugby international John Cooney, added: “I now intend to apply for Irish citizenship through the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin.”

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