Co Derry woman says it is 'extremely disheartening' after UK Home Office appeals citizenship case again

Jake DeSouza and his wife Emma are involved in a citizenship row with the UK Home Office. Picture by Hugh Russell

A CO Derry woman has said it was "extremely disheartening" after learning the UK Home Office is appealing her case of citizenship once again.

It comes just weeks after Emma DeSouza from Magherafelt and her US-born husband Jake were told a previous challenge by the Home Office had been rejected by a tribunal judge.

The Irish News revealed last year how the couple, who married in July 2015, have been battling to secure Mr DeSouza's right to live in Northern Ireland as the husband of an Irish citizen residing in the UK.

They had been told that due to his wife being born in the north, she must declare British citizenship to secure the visa.

Under the Good Friday Agreement people born in Northern Ireland can choose to be British citizens, Irish citizens or have dual citizenship and Mrs DeSouza - an Irish passport holder - challenged the decision.

But Mrs DeSouza said yesterday: "The Home Office have applied directly to the upper tribunal for permission to appeal.

"Extremely disheartening that they are continuing to draw this out when we already have two decisions in our favour.

"The good fight goes on."

Sinn Féin senator Niall Ó Donnghaile, who has been supporting the couple, said the case had "become a symbol of the need to protect Irish citizenship and respect Irish national identity in the north".

"At two separate tribunal hearings, Emma's right to identify solely as an Irish citizen has been judicially upheld," he said.

"The Good Friday Agreement is clear. We are Irish citizens.

"Incredibly however, the British Home Office are once again at the eleventh hour appealing these findings causing further undue stress and trauma to a young, newly married couple."

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