This is a topic that comes up on this forum regularly, and so to keep things tidy, we've decided to address it in this thread, and this thread only.
Please note: this is the only place to discuss this topic - any posts on this in other threads will be deleted, and the posters either directed to this thread (if they are polite) or banned from the forum (if not). This is at the moderator's discretion!
The facts are these:
1) Ireland is an associate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC), and is eligible to play Twenty20 cricket (T20) and One-Day International cricket (ODIs). This status is conferred on Ireland because of their performances in qualifying tournaments.
2) Ireland is not a full member of the ICC. Only 10 countries are: Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, England, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and the West Indies. Only these countries are eligible to play test cricket. Therefore, Ireland does not play test cricket, considered by many to be the pinnacle of the game.
3) In recent times, two Irish players declared for England, Ed Joyce and Eoin Morgan. Both are professional players, plying their trade in the English County Championship.
4) They have done this because this will allow them, if selected, to play test cricket for England, something they cannot do for Ireland. They have also done it because the rewards for playing for England are higher than those available for playing for Ireland, as England play many more matches and have a better remuneration scheme.
5) Under the current system, other players from Ireland may choose to declare for England, for the exact same reasons. The players most often mentioned in this area are Boyd Rankin and George Dockrell.
That is the reasoning behind the decision to declare for England. Many people can understand this, because if you think you're capable of playing at the highest level, and you get the opportunity to try to do so, you should take it. Others feel that you should stick to the country of your birth, no matter what.
Discuss - but keep it civil. If you have a point to make, make it constructively. Any sort of abuse is not acceptable, and tribal or jingoistic nonsense will be deleted on sight. This thread will be heavily policed - you have been warned!!