Sweet Home Alabama


Bonkers writes:

Maria Oswalt from Alabama is running the @Ireland Twitter account this week. She has just arrived in Dublin for (she says) a 3 month holiday so she can see her boyfriend who studies in Trinity…

…But the thing is Maria’s father Tommy Oswalt (with Maria, above) says the reason why Maria is here for the next 3 months is to “work with the Life Institute on their campaign to save the 8th Amendment and keep Ireland abortion free”…

…And here is Maria on the campaign trail in Alabama…

So it would seem that the Life Institute are allowing volunteers from America work for their campaign. I’m pretty sure this is in breach of Irish immigration law which forbids work (either paid or unpaid) when you are here on a tourist visa.


62 thoughts on “Sweet Home Alabama

  1. newsjustin

    This is an interesting story. She got a beat-down on Twitter. Interesting to hear how @Ireland selects the people who run the account.

    I have no issue with her (or anyone with polar opposite views) being on there.

    The immigration thing needs to be looked at alright. It’s not “Amnesty illegal” but it may still be illegal.

    1. Owen C

      the @ireland account is chock full of whack jobs of both a left and right wing variety. They are equal opportunity employers.

    2. Matt Lucozade: The Only Reader of the Village

      They’re selected for @ireland on the basis of them being “luvvies in the spotlight” aligned with the It Irish Central zeitgeist of Ireland’s Own/RTE Guide-reading, Hillary Clinton volte-face Donald Trump-voting, Denis O’Brien-loving, Sunday Independent-reading saddos abroad who think Tayto Crisps are the best thing about Ireland but it’s not so bad you can stream the GAA live now, who want to vote here – but not pay tax, etc.

      Really, who cares about @ireland? Operation Transformation Team Leader-level Rockstar Fame.

  2. Rob_G

    “I’m pretty sure this is in breach of Irish immigration law which forbids work (either paid or unpaid) when you are here on a tourist visa.”

    – while I don’t agree with this lady’s views myself, which articles of Irish immigration law do you believe she is in breach of? If someone wants to spend their holidays handing out a few leaflets and is definitely not getting paid for it, that’s their own business.

    1. cian

      “1. About this visa
      A short stay ‘C’ visit (tourist) visa allows you to travel to Ireland for up to 90 days for:
      • Tourism
      • Study, eg a short term English language course

      This visa does not allow you to:
      • Do work (paid or unpaid) of any kind
      • Use any publicly funded services, eg a public hospital”

      It kinds depends on the meaning of work in “Do work (paid or unpaid) of any kind”

        1. Killian G

          Well you can be 100% sure that if it was the other way round, they would be hopping up and down about it, with RTE Talk to Joe as a platform. So really this should not be akllowed to go unchallenged

    2. missred

      That’s pretty much it Rob, you can’t do even the volunteer stuff when on a tourist visa. She says she is pro life but mostly here to experience Ireland, then on twitter when people share her dad’s facebook, she tries to say that it isn’t true what he says, then goes on to say the volunteer window opens on March 31st. So she is going to be leafletting or whatever else even when it’s not legal for her to do so.

      1. Rob_G

        Fair enough.

        Bit much though if the Twitterati are already looking on her Dad’s Facebook if she hadn’t even tweeted anything one way or the other about the upcoming referendum, though.

        1. Cloud

          There was link to her own twitter, which was RAMPANT with pro-life stuff including her picketing clinics in Alabama on election day (??), which was then hastily made private. That’s when people started the detective work.

    3. Matt Lucozade: The Only Reader of the Village

      “I’m pretty sure this is in breach of Irish immigration law which forbids work (either paid or unpaid) when you are here on a tourist visa.”

      Yup. The Wanna-be Stasi of the Hashtag Generation Version of the Valley of the Squinting Windows at the ready. There’s always someone who can’t make the cut for Templemore isn’t there? Tough gig, three C’s in the Leaving…

  3. Taunton

    Is she being financially reimbursed for her work? If not, I don’t think she’s breaking any laws.

    1. cian

      she tweeks:
      “HOWEVER, the volunteer visa doesn’t open until March 31. My plans fell through, so I am aware that I’m not allowed to volunteer or work. I really am here just to visit my boyfriend at Trinity and travel for a bit.”

      1. Daisy Chainsaw

        … And get to run the @ireland account within days of arriving in the country.

        Handy that.

      1. b

        i don’t follow the account, but i’m guessing it has had pro-Repeal people running it in the past too?

        it’s hardly the end of the world, it’s only a twitter account for a week, too many people exist in social media echo chambers

        1. Owen C

          the @ireland account has had plenty of far left people in recent months. They genuinely don’t have an agenda other than perhaps creating notoriety.

    1. Rob_G

      It seems to be run by Irish Central, who run a bit ‘De Valera-dancing-at-the-crossroads’, mixed with a rose-tinted view on the actions of the IRA, if they can indeed be said to have a political philosophy.

  4. Increasing_Displacement

    She should mind her own business is what she should do

    Bet she wouldn’t pull similar in UAE or Egypt

      1. Daisy Chainsaw

        She’s a foreigner interfering. I thought antichoice hated foreigners interfering in our campaigns…

        1. newsjustin

          Well personally I’m pretty agnostic about it. Once it’s legal. Human rights issues are international issues after all.

      2. Increasing_Displacement

        It’s not just because you say it is, but exactly, we’re not them.

        She hasn’t the bottle to tackle real human rights abuses
        She’s dishonest
        She’s here to influence the vote in this country

        She wouldn’t have the bottle in a country with consequences

      1. Increasing_Displacement

        That’s what happens in countries with actual human rights abuses though isn’t it

        You don’t see many campaigning there

      2. Daisy Chainsaw

        She’s campaigning for Irish people to be jailed for 14 years. That’s the punishment for assisting in the procurement of an abortion under POLDPA.

  5. TheQ47

    This is interesting.

    I did a little bit of digging. If you are coming to Ireland from USA on a holiday of less than 3 months, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service says you don’t need a visa. If you want wish to work, while here (see http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/non-visa-short-visit):

    You must apply for permission to work if you will be paid to perform or attend an event (eg as a music, sports or other professional) for 15 days or more.

    You cannot work in Ireland without a specific visa, unless the work is of less than 14 days duration:

    If your work starts and ends within a single 14 day period, you do not need to apply for immigration permission to work before you travel.

    However, you must request temporary permission to work when you arrive at border control. Make sure to bring appropriate documents with you when you travel, eg original contract.

    However, there are different rules in place for volunteering as a lay volunteer (i.e., not a religious minister). The Immigration Arrangements for Lay Volunteers page (http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/WP10000034) says:

    A revised procedure, including revised conditions of entry, are being prepared in relation to this immigration permission. Therefore, this scheme is closed to new applicants from 1 January 2018 until 31 March 2018 pending the launch of a new procedure. Potential applicants are advised that the revised scheme will include a pre-clearance procedure applicable to all applicants whether they are visa required or not.

    I wonder which of these applies to Maria?

  6. Killian G

    I was previously of the opinion that anti-choice people were conservative, backward-thinking traditionalists but now I see one with funky coloured hair and I realise they are actually cool, hip and modern.

  7. missred

    Is she already in the country? It’s not quite clear. If she’s not, then immigration should give her a good grilling at the airport on the way in.

  8. Rob_G

    Geez – maybe the GNIB should give an abortion quiz to everyone entering the country, and only allow those with sufficiently right-on views to enter the country…

    1. missred

      Technically the gards don’t come into contact unless there is reason to suspect something criminal has occurred. Immigration officers do the refusing by themselves.

  9. Kim Cardassian

    “I was pro choice until she took over but since she took over @ireland I’ve changed to pro life”, said no one, ever.

    This is an example of how crazy this whole referendum is going to get. Some of the tweets to her are embarrassing.

    I recall one tweet to her saying she “wasn’t welcome” in this “democratic country”.

    Checking out her visa entitlements isn’t really dealing with her views on the 8th, rather it’s seeking to silence a voice on it, and a voice that hasn’t spoken about it in the capacity of the @ireland account. And while that voice may be one that many of us disagree with it, no one’s voice should be silenced (unless lies are being spouted)

    The @ireland account has had some left and right whackos on it in the past. But this time round, it’s not the person running the account that is acting inappropriately

    The @ireland account has also had some wonderful people run it too.

    1. Nigel

      Yeah I normally roll my eyes at people finger-wagging pro-choicers, but having a go at her (however mild it might seem compared to the vile hate pro-choice women get) is a bad look and kinda unfair, especially if she hasn’t actually initiated debate on the subject.

  10. Frilly Nation : The Rupture is real

    ah c’mon

    I thought this thread was going to be all about the need to identify her student boyfriend as being a Trinity Student

    Come’on lads
    get it together will ye
    standards around here have gone to

      1. Frilly Nation : The Rupture is real

        Ah now
        I wouldn’t go that far
        If they gave me one like

        I’d get quiet attached t’ being a Doctor Keane

  11. ____

    Can the government politely ask Twitter to give them the @ireland handle?

    Irish Central really isn’t the kind of bunch that I’m OK with being a representation of this country.

  12. Bob

    Bet Broadsheet won’t complain when people come back to vote illegally.

    I appreciate people making the effort to vote but there were lots of votes for marriage equality that were openly breaking the rules by being non-resident. Not that Ireland ever enforces half the rules. Votes for the diaspora and non-residents are another issue.

  13. Andy

    Oh look, someone with an alternative opinion to me. Run them off social media……

    snowflakes everywhere……

    People really do have way too much time on their hands.

  14. A person

    Seriously? People are protesting that an anti-abortion person has entered the country? Why is this even posted here. Get over yourselves. Whilst I have a view on the issue, I can respect others to have a different view.

  15. Matt Lucozade: The Only Reader of the Village

    Which part of “Alabama” didn’t you get?

    It’s the most Hunamerican State

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