15 February 2022: Short-termism; Unhappy seniors; A PP boo-boo; Hitler’s luck; Irish nationality; & Other stuff

Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable
Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’

Cosas de España/Galiza

Noting that companies – banks in particular – have moved from one extreme to the other over the last 15 years has reminded me of the allegation of endemic ‘short-termism’ here which I recently cited from some commentator(s) on Spanish business practices. Certainly the Spanish banks I’ve dealt with never seemed to have the concern for long-term customer fidelity that my British bank evinces. Not for the latter the free-gift-inducements and the several commissions and costs which come and go without any notification whatsoever.  

The Voz de Galicia claims there are 740.000 Galician seniors disadvantaged by the wholesale rapid digitalisation of services, especially those of the banks. As the population of Galicia is 2.8m, this is a quarter of the total. An even higher percentage, of course, of adults.

Well, the right-of-centre PP party took a gamble and called an early election in Castilla y León, where they’ve had absolute rule for several decades. But it didn’t pay off and now they can only continue in power with the support of the fascistic Vox party. Which is saddening.

I’ve mentioned a few times that, having been totally ejected, our local gypsies duly returned to our Sunday flea market and set up what I called Gypsy Corner, at the museum end of the street. Well, after ‘mission creep’, they now occupy at least 30% of the market and possibly close to 50%. As this is illegal, I expect the police will soon eject them once again, so that the game can re-start.

I’ve finally seen a couple of potential customers in the new ‘antiques’ shop near the market:-

And here’s an example of an antique on sale there:-


The chap who got in the way of Hitler’s 1923 bullet was one Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter. As well as this massive stroke of luck, Hitler had several others:-

1. He should have been tried in Leipzig but his trial took place in sympathetic Bavaria

2. The judges were biased in his favour; one of them was even a plotter against the government.

3. The judges gave him a free hand (and mouth) to rant for hours in the dock, stirring up local emotions.

4. Though found guilty of treason, he avoided the normal penalty of death.

5. Instead of a very long jail sentence in lieu of execution, he was given only 5 years, with parole after only 6 months.

6. As an Austrian, he should have been deported, never to be allowed back into Germany. But wasn’t. He might never have been heard of again.

Humanity, though, was rather unlucky at this juncture. And even unluckier once Hitler really got going. Clearly, his path to power was eased well before 1933. Meaning there were several guilty parties in Germany. Though they possibly could never had predicted the degree of his insane Messiah complex.


This made me laugh . . .

Well, my certificate of Irish nationality has finally come through, 2 years and 3 months years after I made my application in Madrid. Much longer than expected back then but maybe only half the time it’d now take to get Spanish nationality. When I made the application in November 2019 – pre -Covid – the worst forecast for the Irish process was 9 months. Heady days. 

I’m celebrating by posting again the article I put in my post of 20 February 2020, comparing the Spanish and Irish processes for gaining nationality.  


20 February 2020 

Today it’s 3 months since I made my application for Irish nationality. So I thought I’d post this article I wrote a while back on this subject:-

During the 3 years since the shock referendum verdict of mid 2016, there’s been a lot of talk of a Hard Brexit which would – eventually – remove from Brits all the rights they’ve had in the EU for several decades. These would include access to the Spanish healthcare system and visa-free travel for Brits and their kids. On top of this, there’d be new bureaucratic hurdles, including a different ID card to reflect our inferior status. 

I’ve never believed things would come to such a pass – relying both on a belief in the power of the British Establishment to stop it and the common sense among all parties. At the back of my mind, there was also the security of knowing I could retain my rights by obtaining either Spanish or Irish nationality.

But it wasn’t until early this year that I was motivated by Conservative party developments – to investigate the respective processes, influenced a little upfront by the fact I’d heard a friend complain – over 2-3 years – about how the Spanish option was what’s called here un calvario. And this from a fluent Spanish speaker who’d lived here for many years. An important negative aspect was that the Spanish government doesn’t allow dual nationality and so demands that you give up your British passport.

So, I took look at the relevant Spanish web page and, finding the English hard to follow, decided to have no more to do with that option and moved quickly to investigate my Irish option. This was available to me because my grandmother was born in Ireland and, thus, my father had automatically been an Irish citizen. Ironically, I don’t think he ever knew he was both British and Irish. As very many folk born on Merseyside are.

Over the next few months, I got together all the certificates and photos required by the Irish government to allow me to go onto the Irish Birth Register. Once achieved, I could claim a passport. When all was ready, I took advantage of a visit to my elder daughter in Madrid to take the papers to the Irish embassy there and duly lodged them with a nice lady. I now wait on confirmation of registration. This used to take only 6 months but, such has been the rise in applications, it could now take 9 or even 12.

Below is my comparison between the Spanish and Irish processes and my caveat is that I’m much more familiar with the latter than the former. So, it’s not something to rely on if you’ve no choice but to go the Spanish route. The government page will be a good start as regards this – if you can figure out what the English text means – but must, I’m sure, be augmented by talking to someone who knows more than I do about it. And I’m told that many people need to take at least an interpreter with them when they go to talk to the Registro Civil about their application. Possibly even a gestor.

One final point in this preamble . . . I don’t know much about the challenge of getting British nationality – other than the residence requirement is 5 years, against a norm of 10 in Spain – so I can’t compare it with either that of Ireland or Spain

All that said, this is my overview of  how the challenges differ. I won’t be at all surprised – or upset – to be told I’ve got some things wrong.


The Irish process involves, firstly, an application to go on the Irish Birth Registration and, secondly, a passport application.

The Spanish process involves at least one (multi-stepped) stage and probably a subsequent passport application.

Who to Apply to?

Spain: The Ministerio de Justicia.

Ireland: The Dept of foreign Affairs and Trade.


Spain: I think on the internet but suspect visits to some offices will also be involved.

Ireland: Only on line.

Web Page Information 

Spain: http://www.mjusticia.gob.es/cs/Satellite/Portal/en/ciudadanos/tramites-gestiones-personales/nacionalidad-residencia   

Ireland: https://www.dfa.ie/citizenship/born-abroad/registering-a-foreign-birth/

Time from start to finish

Spain: 3 to 4 years, possibly even more.

Ireland: 6 to 12 months


Spain: A lot. See the web page: At least: 1. A period of residence which depends on your status; 2.Certificates of birth etc.; 3. Proof of ID; 4. A Spanish language diploma 5. Evidence of ‘sufficient integration’: 6. Proof of residence; 7. Criminal checks in both Spain and the UK.

Ireland: 1. A parent or grandparent born in Ireland; 2. Certificates of birth etc.; 3. Proof of ID; 4. Proof of residence.

Most importantly, there’s no requirement for residence in Ireland; your entitlement is based on descendence rom an Irish native. 

Complexity of the Process(Ease of Application)

Spain: High. The English of the web page is poor (What is a ‘literal certificate’?); the application form will surely be long and complex; you might have to deal with a Spanish bureaucrat and, if so, the language of communication will surely be Spanish. So, as I’ve said, you might be well advised to pay a gestor help you.

Ireland: Low. There is a short form of only 4 pages with a 2-3 easy questions on each page;  the English of both the advice page and the application itself is very clear; you’ll only have to deal with a computer. Finally, If anything more is needed beyond what you’ve sent, an email will be acceptable. I can’t imagine this being the case with the Spanish option.

Risk of Getting Something Wrong and Slowing Things Down

Spain: High

Ireland: Low


Spain: €102, plus the costs of certificates and of everything else you have to provide or do. A language diploma, for example. The fees of any interpreter and gestor are, of course a piece of string.

Ireland: €270 plus the costs of any certificates you need to get in Ireland or the UK. An easy process, with  prices for slow or fast delivery. There are several sites which will help you identify the dates and details of the certificates you might need, because you don’t already have them.

Keeping Your British Passport

Spain: No (in theory, at least)

Ireland: Yes

Irritation Factor

Spain: High, I imagine.

Ireland: Low

Stress Levels

Spain: High, I again imagine.


Finally, my sympathies go out to anyone who has no choice but to go the Spanish route. And, if you haven’t already started on this odyssey, you might find that any transition period ends before you get Spanish  nationality.

In other words, you really should have started before the referendum was held!

For new reader(s): If you’ve landed here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try here. If you’re passing through Pontevedra on the Camino, you’ll find a guide to the city there.