Thursday, 8 October 2020

Ceisteanna (231)

Danny Healy-Rae

Ceist:

231. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice the current waiting time for the processing of citizenship applications; the measures being taken to deal with the backlog of applications; if the case of a person (details supplied) will be addressed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29377/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Citizenship Division of the Immigration Service of my Department recently contacted the person concerned requesting further documentation. Once this documentation is received the case will continue to be progressed with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation. The application will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible. If the person has a query in respect of their application, they should contact the Citizenship Division at: citizenshipinfo@justice.ie.

The granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation under the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements, not only within the State but also at European Union as well as international level. It is therefore important that appropriate procedures are in place to ensure that the integrity of the regime for granting Irish citizenship through the naturalisation process is held in high regard both at home and internationally. Our procedures are continually evolving including through service improvements due to the introduction of new technology and updated work practices.

In general, it takes around 12 months for a standard application to be processed from the date it is received to the date a decision is made. However, the nature of the naturalisation process is such that, for a broad range of reasons, some cases will take longer than others to process. Completing the necessary checks can take a considerable period of time.

A legal challenge was taken in the High Court last year by an applicant who was refused a certificate of naturalisation due to his absences from the State during the last year continuous prior to the date of his application. The outcome of this ruling – which was subsequently successfully appealed to the Court of Appeal – resulted in significant delays to the processing of naturalisation applications last year. In addition, the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have regrettably resulted in significant challenges to the delivery of normal services.