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Question

6. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to ensure that the threats posed by Brexit to the rights and equality of persons resident in Northern Ireland with Irish citizenship, particularly such as they relate to nationality, are addressed; and his plans to bring forward legislation to address this matter. [11875/19]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Under any scenario for the UK's exit from the European Union, the obligations and commitments of the Irish and UK Governments under the Good Friday Agreement remain. The Government will continue to work with the UK Government as co-guarantor to secure the full implementation of the agreement.
Eligibility for Irish citizenship is based on the nationality of either of a person's parents.  Alternatively, a request for naturalisation is based on fulfilling certain residence requirements along with other criteria.  The granting of citizenship carries with it, for both of the applicant and the State, a number of obligations, and the criteria for the granting of Irish citizenship are set down in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK will leave the European Union on 29 March 2019. Under EU law, Irish citizens resident in Northern Ireland will remain EU citizens.  As Union citizens, they will continue to enjoy the right to move and reside freely throughout the EU, benefiting from the important right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of nationality while doing so. It is important to re-emphasise that both the Irish and British Governments have committed to the maintenance of the common travel area in all circumstances, which means that Irish and British nationals will continue to enjoy the rights currently in operation under this arrangement, including a right of residence and associated rights and privileges.
The provisions within the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, take account of the Good Friday Agreement and, therefore, recognise the birth right of "all of the people of Northern Ireland" to identify themselves and be recognised as Irish or British, or both, as a matter of individual choice. This will continue to be the case after 29 March, or post Brexit, irrespective of whether the withdrawal agreement is ratified. Both this Government and our British counterparts have repeatedly and unequivocally committed to upholding the terms of the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts and to the continued existence of the common travel area.