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Sinn Fein Calls on Action in De Souza Case

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Emma De Souza holds and Irish Password. Originally from Magherafelt in County Derry Ms. De Souza holds an Irish passport. County Derry is part of the 6 counties that comprise Northern Ireland, which is a member of the UK. British Authorities have refused to provide Ms. De Souza husband with a visa granting him the ability to remain and work in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein have called on the British Immigration and Visa Department to “end its attempt to impose British nationality”, on an Irish woman and to stop “discriminating” against her and her husband on the grounds that she is an Irish national and grant them a visa to allow her husband to remain and work in Belfast.

Sinn Fein Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile made his request in the Seanad chamber today. Ms. De Souza husband is orginally from Los Angeles, USA.

Ms. De Souza made an application for a Family Member Residency Card for her husband Jake. The application was refused on the ground that she did not hold a British Passport. However, Ms. De Souza defines herself as Irish and holds Irish Passport, while also holding a Northern Irish birth certificate.

The British Immigration and Visa Department has said before she applies for the visa she must first apply for a British Passport an renounce her automatic British citizenship and reapply for a residency card.

Seanadóir said "The wording of the renunciation form assumes the person to be a British citizen. Ms De Souza has never identified herself as British or of dual nationality, Irish/British, as is her right under the Good Friday Agreement. She defines herself as an Irish national only."

Sinn Fein have called on the Irish government as co-guarantors of the GFA to insure that a British government department is not deliberately or unintentionally misreading the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr. De Souza cannot travel back to the US as British immigration authorities have his passport for the last two years and will hold it until the application for residency is resolved.