Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Ceisteanna (250, 251)

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

250. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will apply the recent High Court judgment by a person (details supplied) regarding the continuous residence requirement for those applying for Irish citizenship criteria of no travel in year preceding citizenship application retrospectively. [39348/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

251. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if emergency legislation will be sought to amend the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 to ensure the continuous residence criteria allows travel for a reasonable length of time, for example, the six weeks advised by his Department before the judgment was made in view of the recent High Court judgment by a person (details supplied) regarding the continuous residence requirement for those applying for Irish citizenship. [39349/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 250 and 251 together.

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 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 the draft Bill.

I am advised that the appeal is likely to be heard early next month. The outcome of the appeal will, of course, have a bearing on whether or not legislation is required. Should it be necessary, I intend to introduce the Bill in the Oireachtas as soon as possible this term. 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.