Belfast Telegraph

Anomaly raised over UK citizenship

Residents in Northern Ireland who were born in the Irish Republic should be entitled to claim British citizenship, a Northern Irish MP has said.

Gregory Campbell, Democratic Unionist MLA for Londonderry, criticised what he called an "anomaly" in the law, which prevents people in Northern Ireland from applying for a British passport.

Holding up a British passport in one hand and an Irish one in the other, Mr Campbell noted that "people in Northern Ireland can have the entitlement to have either passport or even both passports, if they so wish."

He told the Commons: "But where we have the anomaly is that there are thousands of people in Northern Ireland, who were born after 1949 when the Irish Republic left the Commonwealth, who were born in the Irish Republic and have lived for decades in Northern Ireland, who are British - they are British by courtesy of their taxpaying ability, British by courtesy of their voting arrangements because they are British voters, they are British residents - but they can't hold a British passport and that is an anomaly that has to be addressed and hopefully will be raised at the appropriate point in the progress of this Bill."

He added: "Because if people in Northern Ireland have a right to claim an Irish identity even though they have never been to the Irish Republic, why can't people born in the Irish Republic but have been British for decades and have lived in the United Kingdom?"

Mr Campbell's comments were made during the Second Reading of the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill.

He added: "They demand the right to have a British citizenship, and they are currently denied that right, so hopefully we will be able to bring amendments to that effect in the course of this bill." Ireland Office)


From Belfast Telegraph