Friday, 6 September 2019

Ceisteanna (696)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

696. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a meeting can be arranged with an appropriate person in his Department or the INIS in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36601/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that an application for a certificate of naturalisation was received from the person referred to by the Deputy on 28 September 2018. A letter was issued on the 22 October 2018 stating that the  application was deemed ineligible due to required criteria not being met at that time.

I would like to advise the Deputy that it is open to any individual to lodge an application for citizenship if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory conditions as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended. All applications for a certificate of naturalisation are processed and assessed individually in accordance with the provisions of the Act.  A determination on whether an applicant satisfies the statutory criteria attendant to naturalisation can only be made after an application is received.

In relation to applications for citizenship, 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 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.

The Immigration Service are advising those who are planning to apply for citizenship to 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. I am further advised that this ruling is not considered to have consequences for anyone who has already obtained citizenship under the Act.

Individual 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.