Monday 15 July 2019

Irish nationals in North 'may become second class citizens'

  

Talk: Emily Logan, of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, and Les Allamby, of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Talk: Emily Logan, of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, and Les Allamby, of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Irish citizens in Northern Ireland could become "second class citizens" post-Brexit, a Belfast-based human rights organisation has warned.

Brian Gormally, director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice, outlined three potential outcomes Irish citizens in the North face in maintaining their rights to live, work, access health and social services and fully participate in social and political life.

None of the options is appealing, he told the Oireachtas Justice Committee.

"They all involve the implication that those who chose Irish identity are in some way second-class citizens," he said.

"The first possibility is that the [British] Home Office will regard Irish citizens as really British since UK nationality law decrees that most of those born in the UK have British citizenship," he said.

A second possibility is that the issue would be resolved under an agreement on the Common Travel Area.

"The third possibility is that under the withdrawal agreement, EU citizens living in the UK can retain many of their current rights by applying for settled status," he said.

Emily Logan, chief of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, said it believed EU citizenship should be extended to all citizens of Northern Ireland post-Brexit.

Irish Independent

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