Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Questions (135)

Dara Calleary

Question:

135. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 100 of 13 February 2019, if the case of the persons in County Mayo will be re-examined in view of the decision by the Court of Appeal to overturn as unworkable the High Court finding that applicants for citizenship must have unbroken residence here in the year before they apply; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47897/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that the position remains as advised in my response to Parliamentary Question No. 100 of 13th February 2019.

The statutory conditions for naturalisation set out in the Irish Nationality & Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, require that an applicant have a period of 1 year's continuous residence in the State immediately before the date of application. In addition, an applicant must have four years residence in the State during the 8 years immediately preceding that period (in the case of an application based on being the spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen the Act reduces this further period to 2 years during the preceding 4 years).

Applicants must therefore establish that they have been resident in the State for these periods in order to be eligible for naturalisation. To this end, applicants should submit evidence with their application verifying that they satisfy the residency requirements for naturalisation.

Applicants should also note that compliance with the statutory conditions for naturalisation set out in the 1956 Act does not automatically mean that an applicant will be granted a certificate of naturalisation as the grant of a certificate of naturalisation is, by law, discretionary.

It is therefore very important for applicants to note that any absences from the State in excess of six weeks during the year immediately preceding the date of their application could result in a refusal to grant a certificate of naturalisation notwithstanding that they may have satisfied the statutory conditions for same set out in the 1956 Act.

Where applicants are absent from the State in excess of six weeks during the year immediately preceding the date of their application the policy is to only grant a certificate of naturalisation if satisfied that the travel was demonstrably unavoidable or due to exceptional circumstances. Applicants who find themselves in this position should submit as much information as possible with their application to verify that any travel outside of the State in excess of six weeks during the year immediately preceding their application was unavoidable or due to exceptional circumstances.

Every application for naturalisation is considered having regard to circumstances of the individual applicant, the statutory conditions for naturalisation set out in the 1956 Act and the policy on the need for applicants to be physically present in the State for the full duration of the year immediately preceding the date of application.

The applications for naturalisation in respect of the persons referred to by the Deputy were reviewed and the position remains as stated in the original decision. The applicants were informed of this by letters dated 24 October 2018.

It is open to any individual to lodge an application for a certificate of naturalisation if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory conditions for naturalisation prescribed in the Act.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to 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.