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‘British commitment to GFA in question over citizenship claims’ - Ó Donnghaile

16 May, 2019 - by Niall Ó Donnghaile


The British Government must urgently clarify its commitment to the Good Friday Agreement amid claims that it will argue in court that its provisions do not apply in domestic law, Sinn Féin Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile has said.

He was commenting after immigration and rights campaigner Emma DeSouza said that papers disclosed as part of her court case against the British Government revealed that the Home Office will argue that the birth-right provisions of the Good Friday Agreement are not part of domestic law and are therefore unenforceable.

“Emma DeSouza has fought a long campaign to assert the birth-right provisions of the Good Friday Agreement which gives citizens the entitlement to British, Irish or dual nationality,” Niall Ó Donnghaile said.

“The fact that the British Home Office continues to oppose her through the courts is in itself an affront to the Good Friday Agreement. But if it is the case they are now preparing to argue that these provisions don’t apply in law than that is an extremely concerning development.

“The Good Friday Agreement is an internationally-binding treaty, overwhelmingly endorsed by the people of Ireland and co-guaranteed by the Irish and British Governments. The provisions and protections within it must be upheld without equivocation.

“The Good Friday Agreement cannot and will not be renegotiated at the whim of the British Home Office.

“If they are now set to argue in a court of law that it somehow does not apply then that is entirely unacceptable.

“The British Government at the highest level must urgently clarify its commitment to the Good Friday Agreement and end this attempt to dilute or diminish it.

“And as a co-guarantor of the Agreement, there is an onus on the Irish Government to assert itself in defence of it.”

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