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This is a super #Thread on the state of citizens rights & the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland

The birthright provision, to be accepted as Irish or British or both has yet to be implemented by the UK Government

Creating two tiers of Irish citizens #WeAreIrishtoo
1/ I am an Irish national born in Northern Ireland, Irish by birth & Irish under the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. I do not hold a British passport yet in 2016 I was told by the UK Home Office that I am automatically British by birth & I'd be unable to secure my husband’s status
2/ The dept suggested I renounce British citizenship in order to rely on my Irish citizenship, if I did so my husband would be able to remain in Northern Ireland as the spouse of an EU national. Under the #GFA we have the right to be accepted as Irish - not British, we appealed
3/ I found myself in court defending my Irish identity "At its core my identity is first and foremost Irish. It is not something I chose or considered, simply put, it is who I am."

“Identity in Northern Ireland " link.medium.com/S9Wl9WJFLV
4/ The Home Office case is based on the British Nationality Act 1981. Under section 1; a person born to a British or settled parent within the United Kingdom is British at birth. Irish citizens are considered settled in the UK.
5/ However the Home Office lost their case against us in the first tribunal with the Judge ruling that the Good Friday Agreement supersedes the British Nationality Act 1981, as it is a bilateral treaty between two sovereign governments.
6/ The Judge stated that the "people of Northern Ireland have a unique right" and that I am "an Irish national only" and have "only ever been such"

The Home Office appealed against this ruling & against the idea any treaty could supersede an act of Parliament.
7/ And there lies the reason we were in court at all. The British government has not legislated on the birthright provisions of the GFA. That right to be accepted as Irish is not in UK domestic law

Ireland did amend it's nationality laws in line with commitments to the Agreement
8/ As a result, legally NI born British citizens are accepted as just British (there's no forced Irish citizenship on them) dual citizens are legally accepted as dual British/Irish but NI born Irish citizens don't have that same entitlement.
9/ If we want to be accepted legally as just Irish we have to go through the process of renunciation of British citizenship.

It begins with a declaration "I am a British citizen" & requires you to prove you are a British citizen in the first place link.medium.com/9DOqov3GQV
10/ After going to the press it became clear that our case is not a one off but rather demonstrates a systemic disregard for the Good Friday Agreement. A number of families affected wrote to the Home Secretary, we never got a response

“We Are Irish Too” link.medium.com/MP2nkLrHQV
11/ Brexit happened. The December 2017 EU-UK Phase 1 Agreement (Joint Report) made broad commitments which would have ensured that Irish citizens residing in NI were able to continue to be able to ‘exercise’ and have ‘access to’ their EU rights, opportunities and benefits.
12/ However this commitment has not been taken forward. There is no binding provision in the draft Withdrawal Agreement to implement this commitment, and the subject is not mentioned at all in the ‘Political Declaration’ on future arrangements.
13/ Brexit stands to create further inequality & goes against parity of esteem, as laid out in the GFA. There can be no detrimental or differential treatment between the two communities of NI. Yet with Brexit Irish & British citizens will have different rights.
14/ Northern Ireland is a difficult one for the Brexiteers to get their head around. All 1.8 million people of NI & counting have a birthright entitlement to Irish citizenship & through that EU rights sluggerotoole.com/2019/03/28/nor…
15/ A creative solution? Maybe. A recent change in the immigration rules states that those born British will not be defined as an EEA national & will be unable to access & retain their EU rights within the United Kingdom. As a "matter of law" all the people of NI are British
16/ This is in relation to the EU settlement scheme. The scheme is the only way to access the citizens rights chapter of the withdrawal agreement & provides a kind of legal security blanket. Other rights through the scheme include family reunification & ehic.
17/ The scheme is open to Irish citizens & their non Irish/British family members need to apply. The March 7th changes block NI born Irish citizens from applying which creates two tiers of Irish citizens. Those that can retain EU rights & those that cannot.
18/ key issues i) NI citizens have a right under the GFA to be accepted as Irish or British or both being denied

ii) Irish citizens are being split up into different groups with different rights based on birth

iii) British citizens won't have equality with Irish citizens
19/ This further diminution of rights under the Good Friday Agreement lead to the #WeAreIrishtoo #asIrishas & #IstandwithEmma on social media. We have had no response from the British government so will be holding a rally on Saturday 20th April at Belfast City Hall.
20/ The Irish government is in talks with the British Home Office and NIO. Earlier this week the Taoiseach stated "our view is the Good Friday Agreement is explicit on this matter, people have the right to be Irish or British or both and accepted as such"
21/ The Home Office position has been unwavering. We are all British irrespective of the Good Friday Agreement. In fact it is their view that no "international agreement can supersede an act of Parliament" and we all face restrictions on our EU rights
22/ The British Prime Minister acknowledged issues exist around Irish citizens in Northern Ireland accessing their EU rights & pledged an urgent review. It has now been revealed their is no formal review
23/ All of these issues highlight the need for legislative changes. Brexit has exposed gaps that will infringe on our fundamental rights under the Good Friday Agreement. There is no version of Brexit that is compatible with the GFA #WeAreIrishtoo
24/ #WeAreIrishtoo are holding a rally, 20th of April, Belfast City Hall at 12 to ask Westminster to respect the Good Friday Agreement in all it's parts & to say no to the creation of inequality within our society. The people voted for the #GFA it's time that vote was respected.
Our own court case, which has in many ways become a constitutional test of the Good Friday Agreement, will return to court soon. This will be the fourth time the Home Office has sought to deny my right to be accepted as Irish and to deny my husband’s residency.
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