The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended provides that the Minister for Justice has absolute discretion to grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. One such condition is that Minister must be satisfied that the applicant is of good character.
The case was submitted to my predecessor for decision and he decided in his absolute discretion to refuse the application, having considered the information presented, including information provided by the applicant in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy. There is no provision under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, for appeal of a decision to refuse an application. It is open to any individual to lodge a new application for a certificate of naturalisation at any time if they consider they are in a position to meet the prescribed statutory requirements.
The granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and I know the Deputy will appreciate that it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.
The Deputy may wish to note that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to 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 INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.