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Seanad must lead in defence of citizens rights - Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile

11 April, 2019 - by Niall Ó Donnghaile

Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile has tabled a motion onto the Seanad Order Paper, calling on the Irish Government to defend citizens in the North and is seeking its debate on the floor ahead of the Easter recess.

Speaking at Leinster House today Seanadóir Ó Donnghaile said:

“The Seanad must act as a champion for citizens rights. Sinn Féin’s motion on citizenship rights in the North allows us the opportunity to articulate the very real concern that exists about the failure to fully realise our Good Friday Agreement rights.

“This morning during the Seanad’s ‘Order of Business’ - I urged colleagues from all parties and none to use time next week for a debate on this most crucially important issue.

“This issue remains unresolved and it, nor the people it impacts, are going away. We have heard words from Government on this issue but now is the time for actions and tangible results.

“I welcome the Seanad Leaders positive response at today’s ‘Order of Business’ and I hope we can debate this issue next week - citizens expect no less.”


Note to Editors: Please find the text of Seanadóir Ó Donnghaile’s Seanad motion - 

That Seanad Éireann:

Agrees that Brexit is exposing a general implementation gap and failure with respect to key concepts and commitments of the Good Friday Agreement; that the birth right provisions contained within the Agreement are not well understood and are not reflected in law, policy and practice; that this is illustrative of only one problem that faces northern-born Irish citizens now and into the future and why special arrangements are urgently needed as part of the Brexit negotiations.

Notes the concerns, frustrations and fears being expressed by Irish citizens in the North that the special arrangements on citizenship that were promised in the Joint Report of December 2017 have not been delivered thus far.

Agrees that under the GFA people born in the North of Ireland have a right to be and to be accepted as Irish or British or both and opposes the universal imposition by the British Home Office of British Citizenship on everyone born in the North.

Calls on the Irish Government and their partners in the EU to ensure that Britain codifies in law the citizenship rights provisions of the GFA and that Irish/EU citizens in the North are fully protected and their rights upheld.

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