I thank the Deputy for raising this case, in which I am aware he has shown consistent interest for a while.
Citizenship and identity provisions are central to the Good Friday Agreement and it is vital that they be upheld. The Irish Government has consistently engaged with the British Government in support of this and will continue to do so. It is important to state Ms Emma DeSouza is an Irish citizen and that this is provided for and protected under the Good Friday Agreement. My Department is keeping in regular contact with Emma and Jake DeSouza.
In December 2018 I wrote to the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to raise the case of Ms DeSouza and the concerns about the citizenship and identity provisions of the Good Friday Agreement and ask for a review of the issues involved. In February the then Prime Minister, Mrs. Theresa May, acknowledged the serious concerns in this area and pledged to review the issues surounding citizenship to deliver a long-term solution consistent with the letter and spirit of the Good Friday Agreement.
To her credit, she agreed to do that. In this context, the decision of the tribunal in the DeSouza case on 14 October does not define the extent of the British Government's obligations under the Good Friday Agreement. I hope people are familiar with the Good Friday Agreement in which the Governments "recognise the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both" and "confirm that their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship is accepted by both Governments". It is imperative that people in Northern Ireland have confidence in these provisions of the Agreement, in letter and in spirit. To provide for that, a positive outcome to the review mandated by the British Government is now needed. The Government is actively engaged to seek that outcome.
I again raised the case with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland at our meeting on 15 October and I have since written to the Secretary of State to underline the pressing need for a positive outcome to the review by the British Government. The Government will continue to pursue strongly these issues with the British Government, as a co-guarantor of the Agreement itself.