An application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy is currently being considered by the Immigration Service of my Department. On completion of the necessary processing, the application will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible. Should further documentation be required it will be requested from the applicant in due course.
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 taking place in my Department where officials are working with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in the Attorney General's Office to finalise a 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 by the difficulty that has arisen and I am hopeful that the Oireachtas will give the Bill early and positive consideration.
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.