This fundraiser was successful in raising the costs for our court case, we will be forever indebted to those who generously supported us.
For more about the substantive changes that we secured to UK immigration law you can read here: https://www.pressreader.com/uk/belfast-telegraph/20200824/281809991273380
These changes put into domestic UK law for the first time, "a relevant person of Northern Ireland", and defined this per the Good Friday Agreement as "an Irish citizen, or British citizen, or dual British-Irish citizen". Not only was Jake able to secure his residential status in Northern Ireland but countless other families were able to also.
We successfully reaffirmed the identity and citizenship provisions of the Good Friday Agreement and thanks to so many we were not financially crippled doing so - thank you, thank you, thank you.
We are leaving the background to our case below for anyone interested in understanding more.
We started this page in October 2018 to help us prepare for a second appeal from the British Home Office against the right to be accepted as Irish under the Belfast Good Friday Agreement. Since then the department lodged two adjournments that resulted in our case being deferred and us still being charged legal fees.
Finally we made it to the Upper Tribunal on September 10th. We do not receive any financial assistance or legal aid and were represented by MSM law, barrister Helena Wilson and QC Ronan Lavery. Thank you to everyone who assisted us with our legal fees for this hearing.
However the CSO has stated the Secretary of state for the Home Department will immediately appeal any decision in our favor, taking us into the Court of Appeal which will be hugely expensive.
The intention of the Government is to take this all the way in the hopes that we will be unable to sustain the case financially. As a result I have amended our goal amount. We will also be looking at other funding options and do ourselves pay additional fees associated with our case.
This is our story
I am an Irish citizen, born in Northern Ireland, Irish by birth and Irish under the Good Friday Agreement - which protects the right for the people of Northern Ireland to be Irish or British or both. Yet the UK Home Office insist I am British and refuse to issue my husband an EEA residence card as the spouse of an EU national.
The objective of the Home Office - the British Government is for me to accept that I'm British, give up my basic human rights and for my husband to be deported.
It's been extremely difficult for us to reach out for help with this next hearing but after four years and with the level of representation the Home Office is coming in with we have had to expand our legal. We do not get financial assistance.
This legal wrangle started in 2015 with the Home Office refusing to accept me as an Irish citizen and refusing my American husband's application for a residence card, issuing him with a removal order and putting us and our families into a horrendous situation. You can read about the beginnings of our story here
During this time, the department kept Jake's passport for 2 years, we had no freedom of movement, no right to work and have spent the first 4 years of our marriage consumed by this legal battle.
We've been successful twice yet the Home Office continue to appeal against us, insisting that I am a British citizen and denying my EU and GFA rights as an Irish citizen.
At our latest hearing the Home Office had a team of 5 against us, including senior barrister’s. We've had to seek further representation which is a difficult financial burden for us.
We have not been granted legal aid and are receiving no financial support of any kind.
Further to our own case I have personally been campaigning against the hostile environment and seeking protections for the people of Northern Ireland.
Our rights under the Good Friday Agreement need protected now more than ever with Brexit looming and I will take each and every opportunity to lobby this issue in Westminster. These trips are not covered by any organisation or political party.
I put together the first #WeAreIrishtoo rallies in both London and Belfast
I also travelled to Brussels and Strasbourg to engage with MEPs on the impact of Brexit on the Good Friday Agreement and citizens rights in Northern Ireland.
And to the US to meet with members of US Congress
Further to me and Jake there are many families affected, many in the appeals process, all enduring unnecessary hardship and our case has the potential to change that.
Any support is so hugely appreciated from us both.
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