Dana Rosemary Scallon contested the 1997 Irish Presidential election as a US citizen – and kept it secret from voters.
The former Eurovision winner is again a candidate in the forthcoming election to find a successor to Mary McAleese.
But back in 1997 she choose not to inform the Irish electorate that she had undertaken an oath of allegiance to the US before the election.
The issue first came to light in a 2008 court case in Iowa when members of Dana’s family were involved in a bitter legal dispute over rights to religious recordings.
The Iowa court case revelations have been reprinted by the Irish Times with Dana confirming to the paper that she is still a US citizen and had attempted to keep the fact ‘secret’.
“I don’t see it as any problem at all,” she told the paper.
The Irish Times report includes quotes from Dana’s sister Susan Stein when she gave evidence to the court. The judge later ruled that no member of Dana’s family had been entirely truthful under oath.
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Stein told the Iowa court that she had discussed her sister’s American citizenship with Dana’s husband Damien Scallon and her brother and current presidential campaign adviser John Brown during her initial bid to become president in 1997.
“When she ran for the presidential election in Ireland, John and Damien and I had a meeting,” Stein told the court.
“She had just acquired her American citizenship, at the same time she was running for president of a foreign country, and the decision was made that it wouldn’t look very good if the people of Ireland knew she was an American citizen.”
In response, Dana has told the Irish Times that neither she, her husband nor her brother could remember the conversation with Stein and denied she had tried to keep her American citizenship quiet.
“Why would I? Wasn’t de Valera an American citizen?” asked Dana.
“When going through the citizenship process I had been assured I could retain her Irish citizenship. I wouldn’t have become a US citizen otherwise. I don’t vote there. I only vote here.”
Scallon also confirmed that she cannot recall taking the oath of allegiance to America and added that being a US citizen does not bar her from becoming president of Ireland.
She also pointed out that Stein’s comments were made in the context of a family dispute which was eventually settled in 2009 when both sides agreed not to comment further.
The Iowa judge Charles Wolle said in his ruling that none of the witnesses in the case, including Dana, spoke ‘only the truth’ when giving sworn testimony.
He also stated that both Dana and her sister had ‘convenient memories to some extent’.
Dana told the Irish Times that the judge had made comments about everyone. “That’s a judge’s prerogative,” she said.