Written Answers. - Applications for Naturalisation.

Michael McDowell

Question:

55 Mr. M. McDowell asked the Minister for Justice, in relation to applications for passports in return for investments in the State, if a check is made by gardaí in relation to the criminality of the applicant to prevent the use of the scheme for the purposes of money laundering; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29/94]

In my response today to a number of questions on applications for naturalisation linked to investments, I have already referred to the issue raised by the Deputy. The advisory group of departmental officials which I established some time ago to examine and to make recommendations on such applications will apply specific criteria, including one to the effect that an applicant must furnish a certificate of character from the police authorities of any country in which the applicant has resided or carried out business, with express permission to the Irish authorities to inquire behind it.

In addition, each application for naturalisation is required by law to be made on the form prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Regulations, 1956. The form requires that an applicant for naturalisation provide references from three Irish citizens to the effect that they are prepared to support the application from personal knowledge of, and intimate acquaintance with, the applicant and can vouch for good character. The form contains a statement to the effect that a false statement on the form is punishable by a fine of up to £500 and-or imprisonment for up to six months.

As well as that, an applicant is required to provide on the form particulars of any proceedings, civil and criminal, which have been taken against him or her in courts of law in the State or elsewhere. An applicant is also required to make a statutory declaration before a notary public or a commissioner of oaths or a peace commissioner to the effect that the particulars stated in the application are true. The question of considering an application does not arise unless the statutory declaration has first been made.

There is provision in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts for the revocation of certificates of naturalisation in a number of circumstances including where the certificate was procurred by fraud, misrepresentation whether innocent or fraudulent, or concealment of material facts or circumstances.