Challenge to automatic British citizenship for Northern Irish people thrown out

In Re Ní Chuinneagain [2021] NIQB 79 the High Court in Northern Ireland has thrown out a challenge to automatic British citizenship for people who reject it.

The claimant is from Belfast and regards herself as 100% Irish, from passport to first language.

Section 1(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 says that she is also a British citizen.

Ms Ní Chuinneagain objects, and refuses her unwanted second nationality, saying that “doing so would represent an acceptance that she was born a British citizen, in addition to having to pay the administrative cost involved”.

Mr Justice Scoffield concluded that being legally British “takes nothing away” from Ms Ní Chuinneagain’s rights as an Irish (and EU) citizen: “she is effectively free to ignore it”. 

Therefore, her claim was fully dismissed.

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