Northern Ireland news

Leo Varadkar: UK has got it wrong on Emma DeSouza citizenship case

Jake DeSouza and his wife Emma who are having problems with the Home Office over Irish citizenship. Picture by Hugh Russell

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has told the the British government has got it wrong in its legal battle with a CO Derry woman over in her citizenship.

Emma DeSouza from Magherafelt is facing a court case after the Home Office have been granted permission to appeal against a ruling that her US-born husband Jake should be allowed to live in the UK as the husband of an Irish citizen.

It contends that because Mrs DeSouza being born in Northern Ireland, she is a British citizen and must reapply for Mr DeSouza's visa claiming that nationality.

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil yesterday the Good Friday agreement allows people to be British, Irish or both.

Ms de Souza fears Brexit could inject more uncertainty into the couple's battle.

Mr Varadkar will meet British Prime Minister Theresa May in Paris today ahead of "very interesting" UK elections to the European Parliament next week.

He told TDs he thinks the third seat in Northern Ireland was "very much up for grabs" and EU leaders will assess the results in the following week.

The DeSouza's married in July 2015 and became embroiled in the dispute with the Home Office after they began the process of securing the US citizen's right to live in Northern Ireland.

Despite the provisions on Irish and British identity in the 1998 Good Friday agreement, the Home Office rejected the residence card application in December 2015.

It has deemed Ms De Souza British, despite the fact she has never had a British passport.

The hearing is pending.

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