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Citizenship status of New Irish in the North should be settled post-Brexit – Ó Donnghaile

22 June, 2017 - by Niall Ó Donnghaile

Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile today questioned the Minister for Justice about the potential for amending the 2004 Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act in order to take into consideration the specific needs of new communities in the North whose status is uncertain as a result of Brexit.

Speaking after his Commencement Debate on the matter this morning, Seanadóir Ó Donnghaile said;

“The decision taken in Britain to drag the North out of the EU against our will has created huge uncertainty in many areas of life in this country and throughout Britain and Europe.

“One area which has been overlooked in the cut and thrust of the debate so far has been the status of those from ethnic minorities who live in the north.

“As a result of Brexit, the uncertainty in their residential status is particularly pronounced and adds extra pressure on a vulnerable section of people living in Ireland. This uncertainty is particularly pronounced although not exclusively, within non-EU citizens who are long-time residents in the North.

“The current arrangements that would see non-Irish or non-EU citizens resident in the North qualify for Irish citizenship and passports is often costly and complex.

“Many of our ethnic minority communities have been resident in Ireland for a long number of years, many of them have children born and reared here and they identify as Irish; they have built business and help secure our peace and reconciliations process. They deserve equality in accessing their Irish citizenship.

“Since Brexit, I have met the representatives of the ethnic minorities in the north on a number of occasions to discuss their concerns. I appreciate the Minister engaging on this issue today also and also committing to engaging with me further.” 

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