Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (588)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

588. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of a citizenship application by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35388/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that an application for a certificate of naturalisation was received from the person referred to by the Deputy on 19 February 2019. Processing of this application is on-going, with a view to establishing whether the conditions for naturalisation, such as good character and lawful residence, are satisfied. As the Deputy will appreciate, 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 it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

In relation to applications for citizenship, I am aware that the recent judgment of the High Court relating to continuous residency under Section 15(1)(c) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956 (as amended) has given cause for concern. The matter remains before the courts with the lodgement of an appeal before the Court of Appeal and is therefore sub-judice. I can, however, assure the Deputy that my Department is continuing to work on finding solutions to the situation as quickly as possible. The best interests of both current and future applicants are foremost in these considerations and on 25 July 2019 I obtained Cabinet approval for the drafting of a Bill, which seeks to resolve the issue.  My officials are working with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in the Attorney General’s Office to have a bill drafted on an urgent basis and be brought before the Houses of the Oireachtas as quickly as possible on resumption of business in mid-September. Further updates, as they become available, will be posted on the Immigration Service website. Once a solution is in place, if any additional information is required, applicants will be contacted as part of the processing of the application.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service of my Department 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 is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.