Published: Wed, October 16, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Irish Premier to raise outcome of citizenship case with Boris Johnson

Irish Premier to raise outcome of citizenship case with Boris Johnson

"The Good Friday Agreement says that people in Northern Ireland have a right to be British, Irish or both, and accepted as such.

This judgment appears to make a distinction between identifying as British or Irish, as opposed to being a citizen and that is a misreading in our view of the Good Friday Agreement".

The question of citizenship has sparked opposing calls from local political leaders, with some demanding the United Kingdom and Irish Governments sign a new treaty on identity and rights.

"Citizenship and Identity provisions are critical to the Good Friday Agreement (GFA)", he said.

Ms McDonald said simply raising the issue was not sufficient and she said a resolution was needed in a speedy fashion.

He said that it was his view that Ms DeSouza was an Irish citizen and had an Irish passport.

"I ask the Taoiseach to do more than politely raise this matter", she said.

Speaking after the ruling in Belfast on Monday, Ms DeSouza said she was "deeply disappointed" by "a ruling that goes against the Good Friday Agreement".

"We are certainly not going to go quietly into the night with this decision - a decision that really goes against the spirit and the objective of the Good Friday Agreement".

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"The principle of consent is a vital part of the progress we have made in Northern Ireland and the legal challenge taken by Mrs DeSouza would have undermined that key principle".

Fianna Fáil's spokesperson on cross-border cooperation, Declan Breathnach, said the ruling has raised many concerning questions.

He said the Government would continue to respect the fact that people in Northern Ireland have the right to be British, Irish, or both. "It is disgraceful that the British Government has sought to undermine the principles of the Agreement and they have to be brought to task".

Sinn Fein described the court ruling as "trampling over the Good Friday Agreement".

"This decision from the the Emma de Souza case is a disgracefully retrograde step".

A Home Office spokesperson said it was pleased the tribunal agreed that United Kingdom nationality law was consistent with the Good Friday Agreement.

Former NI talks negotiator Jonathan Powell has said that someone is going to have to "sort out" citizenship legislation in relation to the De Souza court ruling.

She told the Dáil that the 20 years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement the British government had failed in its responsibilities as co-guarantor.

The agreement said the British and Irish governments would: "Recognise the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both, as they may so choose, and accordingly confirm that their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship is accepted by both governments and would not be affected by any future change in the status of Northern Ireland". "The Irish Government now needs to step up and defend the rights of all Irish citizens".

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