747. Deputy Ivana Bacik asked the Minister for Justice the number of successful citizen applicants who did not complete and return their declaration of citizenship in each of the years 2018, 2019, 2020 and to date in 2021. [52559/21]


Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy James Browne): Traditionally, citizenship applicants are required to attend an in-person citizenship ceremony to take an oath of fidelity to the State and complete the process to receive their certificate of naturalisation. Due to the pandemic, it has not been possible to hold such ceremonies since March 2020.
In January, a temporary system was established to enable citizenship applicants to complete their naturalisation process by signing a statutory declaration of loyalty to the state. This has temporarily replaced the requirement for citizenship applicants to attend citizenship ceremonies.
Applicants who had failed to attend a previously scheduled in-person ceremony to which they were invited, were also given the opportunity to complete the statutory declaration process and receive their certificate.
Since the introduction of the temporary system, my Department has contacted 8,196 citizenship applicants and has issued 7,405 certificates of naturalisation.
The following table sets out the number of persons who have failed to complete their citizenship process, either by attending an in-person citizenship ceremony or by completing the 2021 statutory declaration process. It is important to say that, where a person has in the past failed to attend an in-person ceremony, they are invited to attend a ceremony at a later date.

Year Invited Attended ceremony (2018-2020) / completed statutory declaration process (2021) Did not attended ceremony (2018 – 2020) / did not complete statutory declaration process (2021)
2018 7,232 6,973 259
2019 5,107 4,959 148
2020 5,167 5,061 106
2021 (to date) 8,196 7,405 791

The statutory declaration process is ongoing, and applicants have received invitations to complete the process throughout this year, including in the past month. Therefore, the number of applicants who are currently listed as not having completed the process can still do so, and it is projected that the figure of 791 for 2021, will decrease between now and the end of the year.
I am also pleased to confirm that, subject to public health guidelines, my Department intends to host an in-person citizenship ceremony on 13 December in Killarney - the first since the pandemic began in March 2020.