A UK government spokesman said the changes « fulfil the promise we made to the people of Northern Ireland in the New Decade New Approach Agreement earlier this year ». Mrs DeSouza says that her position – that the Northern Irish cannot be forced to start living with dual nationality – is supported by the Good Friday Agreement. It is because the United Kingdom and Ireland have stated in this agreement that both countries have been made possible: the policy of the Home Office that we have fought against, not least because of a lack of legislation relating to the birthright provisions of the Good Friday Agreement. This legal gap remains and, with it, there remain two contradictory interpretations of a key principle of an international agreement between the two co-guarantors. Our case has been described as the first human rights case of the Good Friday Agreement. It is seen as a test of the constitutional nature of the agreement itself – nothing we could have imagined when, for the first time, we appealed a decision of the Ministry of the Interior to reject my husband`s application for an EEA (European Economic Area) residence card. Gillespie said: « Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, the people of Northern Ireland are in a unique position within the UK. The British and Irish governments have recognised the birthright of all northern Irish residents to identify as Irish or British, or both as they wished. He added: « The constitutional amendments made by the Good Friday Agreement with its annexed Anglo-Irish Agreement, which is in line with an international treaty between sovereign governments, replace the British Nationality Act 1981, as far as the people of Northern Ireland are concerned. He or she may choose his or her nationality as his or her birthright.
Nationality cannot therefore be imposed on them at birth. The Irish Government considers that Article 1(vi) of the Agreement is an explicit right to identify itself as Irish, British or both and to be accepted as such, and has indeed taken appropriate legislative measures to transpose that interpretation into Irish nationality law. On the other hand, the United Kingdom considers Article 1 vi to be a right to identification and not a right to opt for one or the other. The Home Office was represented by one of Britain`s most advanced constitutional rights advocates, with the Home Office herself giving instructions. The Argument of the Ministry of the Interior is twofold. First, that it considers that the birthright provisions of the Good Friday Agreement provide for a right to identify as Irish or British or both, but not the right to choose your citizenship. Second, even if the birthright provisions of the Good Friday Agreement meant a right to choose your nationality, this provision does not appear in British national law and therefore cannot replace the British Nationality Act 1981, which makes anyone born in the UK a British, Irish or sedentary parent as a British . . . .