Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (411)

Neale Richmond


411. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will advocate for the State contributing to the legal bill of after their legal case of persons (details supplied) with the British Home Office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26371/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The Citizenship and Identity provisions are central to the Good Friday Agreement and it is vital that they are upheld. The Government has consistently engaged with the British Government in support of this, and we will continue to do so.

The Government provided consistent political support for the De Souzas and engaged at the highest levels with the British Government on their situation, the issues raised by their positive and effective campaign, and on the related concerns for the citizenship and identity provisions of the Good Friday Agreement.

It is very welcome that, in the context of the New Decade, New Approach agreement in January and the De Souzas' campaign and case, the British Government committed to changing the rules on how the people of Northern Ireland bring their family members to the UK, taking into account the letter and spirit of the Good Friday Agreement.  This commitment and its implementation signals important progress.

The Government has however always been clear that the legal case taken by Emma and Jake De Souza in the UK courts was a private case in respect of an immigration application, and decisions on the litigation have always been a matter for them, in consultation with their solicitor.  Accordingly, and in line with normal practice, the State will not be contributing to the legal fees.

The Government will continue to engage at all levels in support of the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, centrally including its provisions on rights, citizenship and identity.