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DeSouza and Hay to give evidence to NI Affairs Committee Citizenship Inquiry

13 April 2021

Emma DeSouza and Lord (William) Hay will give evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee inquiry on Citizenship and Passport Processes in Northern Ireland.


Wednesday 14 April

At 9.30am

  • Lord William Hay. Member of the House of Lords and former Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly (2007-14)

At 10:30am

  • Emma DeSouza. Campaigner on the Good Friday Agreement and citizens’ rights, and party to the DeSouza case

Purpose of the session

They will discuss their experiences dealing with UK immigration and nationality law. Birthright provisions enshrined in the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement give the people of Northern Ireland the right to identify as British, Irish or both and to hold both citizenships.

Emma DeSouza, who identifies as Irish, launched a legal challenge to her automatic British citizenship, arguing that she had not formally consented to this status, when it prevented her from accessing the EU Settlement Scheme. The Home Office won its appeal against her case in October 2019 but it led to the UK Government changing the Scheme’s rules for the people of Northern Ireland.

Lord Hay was born in the Republic of Ireland but spent the majority of his life in Northern Ireland. Like others in the same situation, when he applied for British citizenship he was faced with a complex process and a large bill, which stands at £1,330 for applicants today. Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland provides passports to people of Northern Ireland for £70 for an adult and £26 for under 18s, with no need to naturalise.

Further information

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