Minister admits she has not read all of Belfast Agreement


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Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes has been heavily criticised by a board of MPs after admitting she has not read all of the Good Friday Agreement.

She told the NI Relationships Committee that she was “probably giving birth” when the agreement was foremost published.

The minister also revealed she has never visited the Irish confines.

The committee has been investigating disparities in the cost and accessibility of obtaining British and Irish passports for NI citizens.

‘Enormous level of awareness’

North Down independent MP Lady Hermon manifested astonishment at the minister’s admission.

“Given that you yourself haven’t literally read the agreement, what level of awareness could we expect from other officials in your together?” she asked.

“Enormous,” the minister replied.

Any person born in the Republic of Ireland after 1949 and neighbouring in Northern Ireland must first obtain naturalisation before being gifted a UK passport.

At present, the cost of naturalisation, including a compulsory citizenship etiquette, is £1,330.

There is no cost for Irish citizenship for individuals born in Northern Ireland as the costs are waived by the Irish government.

DUP MP Gregory Campbell told the minister that au courant government policy was “quite clearly in contravention” of the agreement.

He said the undercurrent naturalisation rule could apply to someone who had lived in Northern Ireland for 68 years, “as a dweller , taxpayer, employee and voter”.

There is also a significant disparity in the appointments available for obtaining passports.

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‘Crucially important’

There are “Passport Express” services for Irish passports in 77 picket offices across Northern Ireland.

There are no services available in the Republic of Ireland for UK inhabitants to obtain a passport.

The minister said the government saw it as “crucially important” to embrace the agreement and it was “a given” that the government respected the right of people from Northern Ireland to partake of a British passport, and Irish passport, or both.

After being questioned at magnitude about the disparities, she said she would consider if changes need to be beat it to the passport system.

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