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#Thread: We may not have got a decision today but we did get insight into the Government’s view and position on the birthright provisions of the Good Friday Agreement. Here's a few of the basic arguments being put forward #WeAreIrishToo
On behalf of the Secretary of State QC Tony McGleenan opened by stating the FTT tribunal made an "fundamental & egregious error" in ruling in our favour adding that the tribunal should never have entertained our appeal because "DeSouza is not nor was not an EEA national"
He then went on to argue that there is an "important" distinction between identity and citizenship in the Good Friday Agreement and that the act of identifying as Irish only does not mean you are not as a matter of UK law British. He added that I was a British citizen by birth.
Continuing he argued that it was supportive of the Government’s view that the birthright provisions of the GFA were not implemented in the Northern Ireland act. That this somehow supports the view that the birthright provisions were not intended to provide a choice of citizenship
McGleenan argued that Irish citizens in NI have the option to renounce their British citizenship under Section 12 of the British Nationality Act 1981 and that it is the Government’s view that this is in line with the GFA
An argument was also made that even if the birthright provisions were to extend to a choice of citizenship the provision is not in domestic UK law and the Govt cannot be bound to the spirit of an international agreement.
We were represented today by Ronan Lavery QC who put forward significant case law that describes the Good Friday Agreement as a constitution for NI. He argued that the GFA should be interpreted generously and with purpose.
He stated that identity in NI was central to decades of violence & conflict & that this issue has to be approached within the sensitivities of this history. That as a result of the GFA people of NI have a constitutional right to identify & be accepted as Irish or British or both
He argued that article 8 of ECHR, the right to self determination, is engaged and that as a result of NI history foisting citizenship on those who do not want it, who may even find it offensive, constitutes interference to an individuals rights under Article 8 & article 14
He questioned why should section 1 of the BNA 1981 be read in such a way as to "subvert the intention of the Good Friday Agreement" and to cause offence. The BNA 81 grants citizenship, it does not compel a person to accept citizenship.
Closing he added that if there is a way to interpret the law in line with treaty obligations then it should be and that "one shouldn't underestimate the importance of identity in Northern Ireland."
We have no indication of when a decision will be made but anticipate it will be a couple of weeks.

Councel for the Home Office stated the Secretary of State will immediately appeal should the tribunal rule in our favour #Westandwithemma
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