Speaking after meeting with An Tánaiste Simon Coveney along with Emma and Jake DeSouza as well as representatives from the Alliance and SDLP in Belfast today, Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile said:
“I welcome today’s opportunity to meet with An Tánaiste on the DeSouza case and the wider issue of Irish citizenship rights; these are matters I have raised with him consistently in the Oireachtas.
“ It was encouraging that Minister Coveney remained resolute and clear in his agreement with us that these issues needed to be resolved comprehensively and satisfactorily for the benefit of all.
“In 2017, Leo Varadkar made a very clear promise that people in the north would never again be left behind; the Irish government must prove that and continue to actively support Emma and Jake during this traumatic and prolonged ordeal.
“This issue is not going away – this couple should never have been dragged through the courts in the first place.
“I accept the Irish government are not responsible for this problem; the responsibility for that rests firmly with the British government and their Home Office, who have failed to implement the citizenship provision of the agreement within their own domestic law.
“There is no doubting that the current talks process can be an opportunity to politically resolve the outstanding citizenship rights issues, which have been highlighted so starkly by Emma’s case.
“The Irish government must continue to stand up for everyone on these islands by ensuring citizenship is both protected and upheld in law.”