UNISON Northern Ireland

1 Day Without Us

On Monday 20th February UNISON members joined the “1 Day Witout Us” celebration.

1 Day Without Us was a UK wide initiative that emerged following the EU referendum, to celebrate the contribution of migrants. It coincided with UN World Day of Social Justice and was also marked by a mass lobby in Westminster to ensure EU migrants’ rights were not used as bargaining chips in the Brexit negotiations.

Locally we had very positive events in various hospitals (RVH, Antrim and Craigavon) as well as an ICTU joined event outside city hall in Belfast.

Pictures and tweets were shared widely on the day using #1DayWitoutUs

We also used the opportunity to get petitions signed at all our various stalls asking the Irish government to grant access to Irish Citizenship for migrants who are settled in Northern Ireland. The petition can be signed online on




1.2 Brexit and the right to Irish Citizenship

According to the Good Friday Agreement, people born in Northern Ireland can choose to be British citizens, Irish citizens or both (dual citizenship).

This applies to children born here from non Irish / British parents who have a permanent right to reside here (e.g. children of EEA / Swiss parents or children of non EEA parents on ILR).

According to Irish nationality law however, the parents or siblings of Irish born children do not have a right to Irish citizenship. This can only be established at the discretion of the Minister for justice and equality under special circumstances.

Following the UK vote to leave Europe, there has been a wave of applications for Irish citizenship from Northern Ireland (in most cases from British passport holders who felt it was important to establish their right to Irish citizenship to ensure their continued access to Europe). However, this is not an option for many of the migrants who live here.

Please sign our online petition to ask the Irish government to obtain access to Irish citizenship for non British / Irish born nationals living here.

Our campaign group is asking the Irish government to

·         Insist on protecting the Common Travel Area

·         Asking for special status for Northern Ireland and

·         Introduce changes to give the right to access Irish citizenship for non-British / Non-Irish citizens.