An Irish woman charged with membership of the Islamic State has won a court case fighting her exclusion from the UK.
Lisa Smith had been barred from the UK by the British Home Secretary under regulations that allow for the exclusion of EEA nationals on the grounds of "public policy, public security or public health... prohibiting that person from entering the United Kingdom".
She was served with a notice by the British Home Secretary to exclude her from the United Kingdom on the grounds of national security in December and appealed to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) sitting in London.
At a hearing last month, it was agreed that Irish people can be excluded from the UK, but not dual nationals.
Ms Smith argued that she had close family connections to the North of Ireland and often travelled across the border for a variety of reasons. She argued that because her father was born in Belfast, he was entitled to be treated as a dual national and by virtue of his dual nationality, it would be unlawful to exclude her from the jurisdiction.
The British Home Office argued that because her parents were not married when she was born – they are still not married – she is not a British national.
The appeal heard that it is "discriminatory under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to treat those children of unmarried parents any differently, to those of married couples".
SIAC has today ruled in Ms Smith’s favour and allowed her appeal. The decision to exclude her has been determined to be discriminatory.
Darragh Mackin, solicitor for Ms Smith, said that the ruling was significant for the Good Friday Agreement.
“Today’s ruling is hugely significant for the upholding of basic human rights principles which include the right to be free from discrimination. The decision to exclude our client was discriminatory and contrary to the basic principles underpinning the Good Friday Agreement.
"As an Irish citizen who resides in a border town, it was always asserted that to restrict her from travelling across the border was unlawful and could not be stood over. We warmly welcome the court’s determination today which will now reinstate our client’s basic rights to travel to the North of Ireland at her convenience.”