Frontline workers who weren't born in Ireland should be entitled to citizenship for their efforts during the pandemic, a senator has said.
France is fast-tracking citizenship for their frontline workers to reward them for their recent efforts.
Ivana Bacik - Labour Senator and the party’s spokesperson on Children, Disability, Equality and Integration - told Newstalk Breakfast she supports a similar move here.
She made a similar call during a recent debate on a defeated bill to halt deportations during the pandemic.
Speaking this morning, she said: "I do think it's time we did something similar here in Ireland - indeed, a number of us have been calling for this for some time now.
"Over the past year, we've seen so many of our frontline workers being made up of people from new communities in Ireland - some of whom are undocumented, and don't have certainty about their residency status here."
She said she's working with the Justice Minister to ensure more certainty for foreign workers here, noting that around 20% of frontline workers are from other countries.
Senator Bacik acknowledged some issues arise when considering expanding citizenship measures, but argued that these are extraordinary circumstances.
She said: "There is an issue about saying particular group of workers are more deserving than others, but in terms of the COVID pandemic that gives us a very different context.
"We've all seen how frontline workers - particularly in care settings... have had to step up, and how they've put themselves at risk.
"There's a particular case in a pandemic for giving particular status to frontline workers."
She noted that her party and others are also pushing for more generous citizenship for children born in Ireland.
Since a 2004 referendum, children born here to undocumented parents are not automatically entitled to citizenship.
A bill on the issue is currently being written, with the Government working with Labour on the issue.