I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. I met Emma and Jake DeSouza yesterday to discuss their case, along with political representatives from three different political parties, which is very encouraging. This was a very constructive meeting and we agreed to remain in ongoing contact as the Government engages with the new British Government to secure a satisfactory solution.
Citizenship and identity provisions are central to the Good Friday Agreement and it is vital that they are upheld. Emma DeSouza is an Irish citizen and this is provided for and protected under the Good Friday Agreement. 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 agreement. In the Good Friday Agreement, the Governments "recognise the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both". It, therefore, includes an explicit right to both Irish and British citizenship, and an explicit right of people to identify and be accepted as Irish or British, or both. Sensitive and generous approaches by the British Government are needed to ensure this is meaningfully provided for in law.
The Taoiseach has raised the DeSouza case with the British Prime Minister and will do so again. I have discussed the matter with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on a number of occasions, including yesterday, when we met in Belfast. In February, then British Prime Minister, Mrs. Theresa May, acknowledged the serious concerns in this area and pledged to "review the issues around citizenship urgently to deliver a long-term solution consistent with the letter and spirit" of the agreement. I have written to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the British Home Secretary to formally ask that this review be urgently concluded to provide an outcome that is consistent with the letter and spirit of the agreement.
I found Emma DeSouza to be a really impressive individual yesterday, and she is very well informed in regard to what she is trying to do. This is a test case for many other people as well, and she sees it as that. That is why we will continue to work politically with our partners in the British Government to try to get an acceptable resolution to this issue.