Tuesday, 25 April 2006

Ceisteanna (614)

Eoin Ryan

Ceist:

658 Mr. Eoin Ryan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason an application for citizenship was refused in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 4; if the decision has been appealed; the steps which can be taken to ensure a positive determination in view of the circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14582/06]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

The person concerned entered the State as an unaccompanied minor in October 1999 and applied for asylum. Normal immigration controls were not applied to her and her entry to the State without a passport or valid form of identification was allowed for the sole purpose of having an asylum claim determined. In May 2000, she withdrew her claim for asylum before it had been finalised and made an application for leave to remain based on her parentage of an Irish born child. She was granted leave to remain on this basis on 8 October 2002.

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. Those conditions are that the applicant must be of full age or, by way of exception, be a minor born in the State, be of good character, have had a period of one year's continuous residency in the State immediately before the date of the application and, during the eight years immediately preceding that period, have had a total residence in the State amounting to four years, intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation and have made, either before a judge of the District Court in open court or in such a manner as the Minister for special reasons allows, a declaration in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State.

In May 2004, the person concerned applied for a certificate of naturalisation. The person concerned had not been resident in the State for five years at the time she applied and, consequently, her application was deemed ineligible. She was informed of this decision and the basis for it in writing in February 2006. In the context of naturalisation certain periods of residence in the State are excluded. These include periods of residence in respect of which an applicant does not have permission to remain in the State, periods granted for the purposes of study and periods granted for the purposes of seeking recognition as a refugee within the meaning of the Refugee Act 1996. The person in question was seeking recognition as a refugee from October 1999 to May 2000 and did not have permission to remain in the State from May 2000 to October 2002, when she was granted leave to remain. Consequently, she will have the necessary five years reckonable residence in October 2007, provided she has maintained her permission without any gaps since October 2002. She can submit another application at that time and this will be assessed against the requirements of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts.