Written Answers. - Passports for Investment Scheme.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

131 Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform whether the statutory requirement, that the applicants under the passport for investment scheme be of good character, was waived in the case of 12 persons granted citizenship under the scheme between the years 1988 and 1994 without supplying references from three Irish citizens, banks or police certificates of character; if not, the way in which he satisfied himself as to the good character of those applicants as required by law; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8286/98]

It is a matter for the Minister of the day to decide whether all the information available to him is such as to warrant the conclusion that applicants for naturalisation are of good character. As in all situations where character assessments fall to be made, whether by Ministers or otherwise, a variety of factors may be taken into account, not all of which are necessarily the subject of records in my Department. While I am not in a position to say what the full range of considerations was at the time, I am advised that, in the case of those on whom information is currently available — I do not have information at this time on all of the persons concerned — the indications are that they are highly respected individuals of substance.

I know that the Deputy will agree with me when I say that it would be most regrettable if his question had the effect of casting any doubt on the characters of people who do not deserve that result. I am sure that nothing of this kind is intended.