Upper Tribunal rules Irish-identifying people born in Northern Ireland are British citizens

People who were born in Northern Ireland and identify as Irish are still British citizens, the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) has ruled.

Tribunal judges ruled against immigration rights campaigner Emma DeSouza, who has been fighting to bring her husband to Northern Ireland as the family member of an EEA national living in the UK.

Her husband applied to live in Northern Ireland in 2015 but was refused on the basis that Mrs DeSouza is a dual British-Irish national because she was born in Northern Ireland and therefore should be treated as a British national, not as an EEA national.

She has argued, however, that this comes into conflict with the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), which sets out “the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British or both, as they may so choose”.

Mrs DeSouza’s husband previously succeeded in challenging the decision on the basis of her rights under the GFA, but the Home Office has now successfully appealed.

Tribunal judges said the GFA does not supersede the British Nationality Act 1981 and citizenship by birth is not “dependent on consent”, BBC News reports.

Mrs DeSouza has said she will appeal the tribunal’s decision to the Court of Appeal.

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