Sinn Féin Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile has slammed the British Home Office after it again sought and was granted more time in a landmark legal case over the recognition of Irish citizenship rights.
Senator Ó Donnghaile was commenting after campaigner Emma DeSouza revealed the latest delay in her lengthy legal battle to have the citizenship rights conferred by the Good Friday Agreement recognised and upheld in British law.
Niall Ó Donnghaile said:
“The DeSouza case has shone a light on attempts by the British Government to completely disregard a key component of the Good Friday Agreement, namely the right to identify and be accepted as Irish citizens.
“This case has been characterised by consistent stalling tactics from the British Government and repeated appeals every time the courts have ruled against their clearly discriminatory position.
“Now they have secured another delay because the British Home Office is not prepared to go to court as planned.
“That is appalling and will be hugely frustrating to Emma DeSouza, her husband Jake and everyone who cares about citizenship rights under the Good Friday Agreement.
“Rather than simply recognise their obligations under an internationally-binding treaty, the British Government continues to drag this issue through the courts and it seems, can’t even be bothered to prepare their case in time.
“That speaks volumes about their commitment to rights and the Good Friday Agreement.
“However, the Good Friday Agreement, and the rights afforded by it, are international obligations which cannot be ignored or set aside.
“As co-guarantors of that agreement, there is an onus on any new Irish Government to defend it from these British Home Office attempts to undermine it.”