Thursday, 20 June 2013

Questions (177)

Bernard Durkan


177. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding long-term residency-eligibility for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29833/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 221 of 16 May 2013 which is set out below.

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that the person referred to by the Deputy was granted temporary permission to remain in the State under stamp 4 conditions for an initial one year period on 10th June, 2002, on the basis that she was part of a family unit where the parents had been granted residency on the basis of parentage of an Irish citizen child. This permission appears to have been renewed on a regular basis by her local Immigration Officer until March 2010. I am informed that when she attended the registration office of the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) in May 2010, she was advised to contact my officials in the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) regarding same. However it appears that the next contact from the person concerned was in March 2012 when she presented to her local Immigration Officer. She was refused registration on this occasion as she has been out of permission since March 2010. The local Immigration Officer advised her to write to INIS outlining her situation prior to renewal of registration. I am informed that she was given this direction by him on 26th August 2012.

I understand that some documentation has since been received from the person concerned by INIS. However, in order to assist in regularising her status in the State, further documentation was requested from her in writing on 13th March 2013. To date no response has been received. On receipt of the documents requested, her case will then be examined by the relevant officials in INIS. Once a decision has been made on her status, this decision and the consequences involved will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned. I am also informed that the person concerned submitted an application for a Certificate of Naturalisation in August 2005. This application was refused by my predecessor at his absolute discretion. The person's legal representative was notified of the decision and the reason for same by letter dated 31st March 2009. She may re-apply at any time when in a position to satisfy the statutory requirements.

Section 15 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. The conditions are that the applicant must -

- be of full age;

- be of good character;

- have had a period of one year's continuous residency in the State immediately before the date of application and, during the eight years immediately preceding that period, have had a total residence in the State amounting to four years;

- intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation; and

- have, before a judge of the District Court in open court, in a citizenship ceremony or in such manner as the Minister, for special reasons, allows-

(i) made a declaration, in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State, and

(ii) undertaken to faithfully observe the laws of the State and to respect its democratic values.

A foreign national who is married to, or is the Civil Partner of, an Irish citizen for at least three years may apply for naturalisation under section 15A of the Irish Naturalisation and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, where they have been continuously resident in the island of Ireland for the year immediately prior to the date of their application and for two out of the four years prior to that year. The marriage or civil partnership must be subsisting and recognised under Irish law. Section 15A provides that the Minister may waive certain conditions for naturalisation if satisfied that the applicant would suffer serious consequences in respect of his or her bodily integrity or liberty if not granted Irish citizenship.

Section 16 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion, waive some or all of the statutory conditions in certain circumstances i.e. where an applicant is of Irish descent or of Irish associations; where an applicant is a person who is a refugee within the meaning of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees; or where an applicant is a Stateless person within the meaning of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Stateless persons. It is open to any individual to lodge an application for citizenship if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.