Promoting Justice /
Protecting Rights

Press Statement

Date:  27th July 2017

CAJ calls for Equality of Citizenship after Brexit

The Belfast Good Friday Agreement recognised it as the birthright of people born in Northern Ireland to identify as Irish or British or both and accordingly to hold British or Irish citizenship or both. This is a fundamental part of the purpose of the Agreement: to create equality between the two main communities here.

After Brexit, Irish citizens will still be European Union citizens and will retain the right to travel freely and to live and work in any country in the Union without discrimination. British citizens will lose those rights along with EU citizenship. This would breach the equality of citizenship and disadvantage those who identify as British.

Brian Gormally, CAJ’s Director said:

“It is quite wrong for people to be forced to choose either British or Irish citizenship in order to access particular rights. One way of resolving the issue is that those British citizens whose eligibility for UK citizenship arises from being born in Northern Ireland could be regarded as EU citizens along with their Irish neighbours.

“Of course, only the EU could grant that and presumably would only do so on the basis of a reciprocal agreement. The deal could be that all EU citizens would retain all the rights they currently have on the territory of Northern Ireland, as far as practically possible. That would just amount to the status quo on this island but would protect the principle of equality that helped bring us to peace. We need a serious discussion about this.”


 Notes to editors

  • Brian Gormally, CAJ Director is available for interview.
  • The Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) is an independent, non-governmental human rights organisation which works to ensure that the administration of justice is compatible with the highest international human rights standards.
  • See for further information on CAJ and its work.
  • More details of this proposal can be found on the RightsNI blog here:

For further details contact or call CAJ on 028 9031 6000


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