Limited by the Nationality Act, unable to become a true
O’Connell had already lived in Taiwan for over 50 years.
Not only could he speak Mandarin, but also Taiwanese,
Hakka Chinese, and Atayal. Furthermore, Father O’Connell
had won countless awards over the long period of time he
spent working on preschool special education, including
the Outstanding Citizen Award from the government.
However, Father O’Connell did not feel happiness from
these recognitions. He yearned for a national
identification card of the Republic of China to allow
himself to become a “true” Taiwanese citizen. This wish
lingered for 50 years, but could not be fulfilled,
mainly because of the limits on dual citizenship due to
the Republic of China Nationality Act.
In Taiwan, the Nationality Act utilizes single
citizenship legislation and forbids dual citizenship.
Therefore, if Father O’Connell were to become a citizen
of the Republic of China, he would have to renounce his
American citizenship. However, giving up American
citizenship would be inconvenient for Father O’Connell
since he still had family in America and retaining
American citizenship made returning to America much
easier. Furthermore, Father O’Connell believed that
people should not forget their birthplace. Father
O’Connell’s own father was an Irish immigrant and his
father continued to keep dual citizenship in American
and Ireland. Ten years earlier, Father O’Connell had
even applied for an Irish passport to demonstrate memory
of his ancestral citizenship. It was also due to his
desire to retain a part ofhis sentiment towards his
ancestors and country of birth that Father O’Connell was
reluctant to forgo his American citizenship.
The Mackay Project-
caring for foreigners over the age of 65
During May 2011, the government launched the Mackay
Project, allowing foreign seniors who had made long-term
sacrifices and contributions to Taiwan to share the same
public benefits and long-term care services as Taiwanese
senior citizens. Father O’Connell had obtained a Taiwan
permanent residence certificate that same year, however,
he believed that none of these could prove that he was a
Taiwanese citizen. Taiwan had long since become Father
O’Connell’s home and he also wished to pass away in
Taiwan. Why couldn’t he receive a national
identification cardto show he was Taiwanese?