Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission questioned on citizenship and passport processes
8 March 2021
The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee begins public proceedings on its citizenship and passport processes inquiry when it hears from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC)
- Watch Parliament TV: Citizenship and Passport Processes in Northern Ireland
- Inquiry: Citizenship and Passport Processes in Northern Ireland
- Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
Wednesday 10 March 2021, virtual meeting
- Les Allamby, Chief Commissioner, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
- Ẻilis Haughey, Head of Service to Dedicated Mechanism, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
Chief Commissioner Les Allamby and Head of Service Ẻilis Haughey are expected to answer questions on:
- NIHRC assessment of current UK nationality law in the context of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement;
- whether changes to the law should be considered to better align with the Agreement;
- the process by which Republic of Ireland-born residents of Northern Ireland currently have to apply for British citizenship
Under the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, the people of Northern Ireland have the right to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish, or British, or both, and hold both British and Irish citizenship. Issues around citizenship and identity in Northern Ireland and the birthright provisions of the Agreement came to greater prominence in relation to applications to the EU Settlement Scheme and the DeSouza case in 2019.
In 2020 the NIHRC commissioned and published a report which recommended that the Government change parts of nationality law to better align with the birthright provisions of the Agreement.
The Government has since made changes to the EU Settlement Scheme to allow family members of British and British-Irish citizens of Northern Ireland to apply to the scheme. The Committee is examining the interaction of UK nationality law and the provisions of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.
The evidence session is the first of the Committee’s Citizenship and Passport Processes in Northern Ireland Inquiry. Written evidence submissions and transcripts of oral evidence to the Inquiry can be found here.