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Citizenship Applications

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Ceisteanna (276, 280)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

276. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the status of citizenship applications by persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53744/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

280. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the timeframe of a foreign birth registration application by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53831/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 276 and 280 together.

My Department is responsible for citizenship by descent through the Foreign Births Register under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the processing time for FBR applications stood at 18 months due to an unprecedented surge in applications as a result of Brexit, and the necessary rigorous processing that applies to citizenship applications.

Due to the pandemic, FBR staff have been reassigned to assist in the delivery of essential services. This has resulted in a pause in overall FBR processing. FBR staff have continued to provide an emergency service for Foreign Birth Registration in cases of exceptional urgency, such as expectant parents, or stateless persons. In cases of exceptional urgency FBR applicants may continue to contact the Passport Service directly. For other applications, the Department operates a transparent general policy of processing FBR applications in order of receipt.

The applications referenced by the Deputy were registered in February 2020. All documents received are being stored in a secure environment.

The Passport Service is actively planning to resume processing FBR applications as soon as possible and I will arrange to have the Deputy informed once a date for the resumption of processing these applications has been finalised. My Department is committed to allocating further resources to assist with the high volume of applications, with a focus on reducing turnaround times. In the medium term, changes to the FBR process to increase efficiencies and improve the customer experience will be delivered under the next phase of my Department's Passport Reform Programme.

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