29 Jan 2013

Australian priest Barr may apply for Fiji citizenship

4:18 pm on 29 January 2013

An Australian Catholic priest who last week was first ordered out of Fiji and then told he could stay, is considering taking out Fijian citizenship.

Father Kevin Barr has been renewing his three-year work permit for over 30 years and has earned a reputation for helping poor and destitute children.

The Ministry of Immigration told him he had two days to leave the country last week, but the interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama reversed the decision on Saturday.

Father Barr says he will be more careful with his comments after he assumed the decision was a reaction to his letter to a newspaper and the leaking of subsequent terse comments to him by the the country's leader.

His permit expires at the end of the year and he is considering taking out Fijian citizenship now that the laws allow dual citizenship.

"Why I have retained the work permit is so that I can continue with my pension, the Australian pension, because as you get older you need some money to live. I guess we'll wait and see what happens when the time comes but I'd like to stay on in Fiji because as I said this is my home and this is where my friends are and I am very much attached to the Fijian family that I stay with."

Father Kevin Barr.