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British Home Secretary must ensure officials are trained on Good Friday Agreement rights – Ó Donnghaile

10 October, 2017 - by Niall Ó Donnghaile

Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile has criticised the British Home Office for inflicting further anxiety and uncertainty on families in the North of Ireland as a result of what appears to be their total ignorance of the Good Friday Agreement.

Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile has written to the British Home Secretary Amber Rudd requesting that officials dealing with specific visa applications from the North are fully briefed and trained up on the fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement, the nature of the citizenship rights that it affords to people here and the damaging impact not understanding these important features is having on people’s lives and wellbeing.

Speaking after the latest case, involving Ciaran Doole from South Belfast and his fiancée Makiko Takeoka, has seen the British Home Office again cause undue trauma and disruption to another unsuspecting family, Seanadóir Ó Donnghaile said:

“British Home Office officials need trained up on the Good Friday Agreement, they need to read the rights it legally affords citizens here.

“They need to understand that 20 years after its lodging with the EU and UN, it simply isn’t good enough that such basic issues of citizenship not being fully understood and appreciated is leading to disruption for people living in the North.

“I am encouraged to hear that there is at least some short term solace for Mr Doole and Ms Takeoka in terms of their upcoming wedding.

“In the long term however they are still facing further unnecessary anxiety and problematic hurdles due to prolonged delays in grating their visas.

“In the Seanad tomorrow I will also encourage the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney to raise these ongoing problems faced by Irish citizens resident in the North, directly with the British Government.”

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