Under Section 12 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956, Dáil Éireann may instruct the President to grant honorary citizenship to an individual who it believes has given "signal honor" to the nation. We believe that President Barack Obama is deserving of this, the highest honor that the Irish government can bestow.
The purpose of this would be fourfold:
1) To honor an American of Irish descent who is an epochal historical figure, has become an icon of decency, grace and humanity and one of the great civil rights leaders of the era.
2) As an expression of gratitude to a man who did more than any other to improve Irish-American relations and foster comity between our countries following the disastrous Bush years.
3) As a gesture of respect, friendship and solidarity with the African American community in a time when a resurgent white supremacist movement threatens so much that has been achieved in the last eight years and longer.
4) As a statement that "Irishness" is not a matter of race but an expression of shared values, respect and a spirit of friendship, welcome and compassion.
We the undersigned ask that Dáil Éireann advise President Michael D. Higgens to declare President Barack Obama an honorary Irish citizen with all the rights and privileges there due.