Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Questions (280)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

280. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if further documentation is required in the application for naturalisation in the case a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37256/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that the person referred to by the Deputy submitted an application for naturalisation on 1 November 2018. Processing of this application is ongoing at this time. The Immigration Service will be in direct contact with the person concerned should there be any further documentation required.  

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 officials and I are doing everything possible to put in place a solution on an urgent basis.  I have taken expert legal advice and I intend to introduce legislation to address the issue. At the end of July, I obtained Cabinet approval for a proposed Bill and intensive work is underway in my Department where officials are working with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in the Attorney General's Office to finalise the draft Bill.

I intend to introduce the Bill in the Oireachtas as soon as the Houses return to session. I know that colleagues of all parties are concerned with the difficulty that has arisen and I am hopeful that the Oireachtas will give the Bill early and positive consideration.

As soon as the Bill becomes law, my officials will make all necessary arrangements for the next citizenship ceremony. Invitations will issue at least four weeks in advance of the ceremony to ensure everyone has adequate notice.   

Queries in relation to the status of any immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service of my Department by email 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 Question process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in the cases where the response is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.