Limited by the Nationality Act, unable to become a true Taiwanese

Father 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.




EBC News:Father O'Connell fights

for his Taiwanese ID crad.

FTV News:Citizens make an identity card to

praise Father O'Connell’s selfless dedication.

SET News:Father O'Connell finally gets his Taiwanese

ID card after devoting himself over fifty years to Taiwan




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?