Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (533, 554, 555, 558, 569, 571, 601, 636, 637, 638)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

533. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the new ruling for persons who wish to apply for citizenship (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34738/19]

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Hildegarde Naughton

Question:

554. Deputy Hildegarde Naughton asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of citizenship applications affected by a judgment (details supplied); if he will be applying the judgment retrospectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34866/19]

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Hildegarde Naughton

Question:

555. Deputy Hildegarde Naughton asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will be seeking emergency legislation to amend the Act to ensure the continuous residence criteria allows travel for a reasonable length of time, for example, the six weeks advised by his Department before a judgment (details supplied) was made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34867/19]

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Niall Collins

Question:

558. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the actions he plans to take further to a recent High Court judgement (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34957/19]

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Seán Haughey

Question:

569. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to introduce legislation to deal with the recent judgement of the High Court relating to continuous residency under section 15(1)(c) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35018/19]

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Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

571. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to amend the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 and in particular the 12 months continuous residence clause following the High Court decision of a person (details supplied) which deemed that even a single day out of the State during that 12 months would not be deemed to meet the continuous residence condition as stipulated in the Act. [35036/19]

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Michael McGrath

Question:

601. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps he is taking in response to 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); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35464/19]

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Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

636. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will be applying the High Court ruling (details supplied) criteria of no travel in the year preceding a citizenship application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36051/19]

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Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

637. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will be seeking emergency legislation to amend the legislation to ensure the continuous residence criteria allows travel for a reasonable length of time (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36052/19]

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Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

638. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of citizenship applications that will be affected by a High Court ruling (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36053/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 533, 554, 555, 558, 569, 571, 601 and 636 to 638, inclusive, together.

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. As of 3rd September there were 15,647 applications for citizenship on hand. The majority of such applicants are potentially affected by the ruling. To date this year a total of 2,981 adults and 849 minors have been naturalised. I am advised that this ruling is not considered to have consequences for anyone who has already obtained citizenship under the Act.

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.

Those who are planning to apply for citizenship should continue to collect all the necessary proofs that support their application and to submit a comprehensive application form. Once a solution is in place, if any additional information is required, applicants will be contacted as part of the processing of the application.