"I thank the witnesses for their interesting presentations. It is a steep learning curve for many members on this committee and many people who have been acutely aware of the DeSouza case, which we have all watched with interest through the media.
Professor Harvey referred to Irish citizens in Northern Ireland being abandoned and a "systematic failure" in terms of the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. His comments will sound pretty grim to someone on the outside looking in. I have lived in Northern Ireland for 50 years and I do not see a grim or bleak picture. Certainly there are big issues and things we need to deal with but I do not view the situation in the same light as him.
Professor Harvey mentioned in his presentation that issues have not been addressed. He referred to the failure to deliver on human rights, equality rights, Irish language rights, equal marriage, women's rights and to deal with the legacy of the conflict. Is it fair of me to say that has more to do with the abject failure of the political structure of Northern Ireland as opposed to this issue?
I apologise for my ignorance on this matter but I am completely supportive of Ms DeSouza and the decision on her case is wrong, unjust and unfair. How many similar cases exist? Is there a tsunami of cases or a small number of cases? We were led to believe earlier on that a relatively small number of cases fall into a similar category to the DeSouza case.
Reference was made to the issues that would be presented to Irish citizens residing in Northern Ireland. Are there reciprocal issues for citizens who would qualify themselves as British but reside in the South of Ireland? How does that aspect fit with the wider discussion?"