Brexit risks making Irish in the North 'second class citizens'

A human rights expert has told an Oireachtas committee that Irish men and women born in the North could be treated like "second class citizens" as a result of Brexit.

The remarks were made by Brian Gormally, Director of N.I. based human rights group Committee on the Administration of Justice, at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality in Dublin on Wednesday morning.

Irish people living in the North could be treated like "second class citizens" according to one N.I. based human rights expert.

Irish people living in the North could be treated like "second class citizens" according to one N.I. based human rights expert.

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In his opening statement to the committee, Mr. Gormally listed three possible outcomes for Irish citizens in the North after Brexit: the Home Office would treat Irish citizens as "really British"; the issue would be sorted by the Common Travel Area and Irish citizens, like their fellow E.U. citizens, would have to apply to the British Home Office for "settled status".

“None of these options is appealing as they all involve the implications that those who choose Irish identity are in some way second-class citizens," said Mr. Gormally.

“Their rights as full participants in Northern Ireland life would depend on either a denial of their Irish nationality, as yet unknown bilateral agreements between the UK and Ireland about the Common Travel Area or asking the Home Office to graciously allow them leave to live in the land of their birth.”

Mr. Gormally also said that Brexit would also mean that Irish citizens born and living in the North would have “no legal connection to the jurisdiction in which they were born".

The U.K. is set to leave the E.U. at 11:00pm on Friday March 29, 2019.