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Question

752. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Justice if she has given consideration to granting an extension of the right to apply for Irish citizenship to great-grandchildren of Irish immigrants; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52647/21]

Answer

Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy James Browne): The granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is governed by the provisions of 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.
Section 16 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended provides discretion to the Minister to waive the statutory conditions in certain circumstances, including where the applicant is of Irish descent or Irish associations (defined as related through blood, affinity or adoption to a person who is or is entitled to be an Irish citizen).
Under Section 16 (2): For the purposes of this section a person is of Irish associations if:
(a) he or she is related by blood, affinity or adoption to, or is the civil partner of, a person who is an Irish citizen or entitled to be an Irish citizen, or
(b) he or she was related by blood, affinity or adoption to, or was the civil partner of, a person who is deceased and who, at the time of his or her death, was an Irish citizen or entitled to be an Irish citizen.
There is no right or entitlement to have any of the statutory conditions waived even where the applicant comes within the certain circumstances defined. This discretion is used very rarely and only under the most exceptional and compelling circumstances. An association going back two generations without any other link to the State is generally not considered as sufficient to warrant consideration of the waiving of the statutory residence conditions.
Applicants who seek to avail of the discretion provided under Section 16 of the Act are expected to have a reasonable period of lawful residence in the State, generally around 3 years, to show they have some substantial and tangible connection with Irish society and the State. An Irish association through a great-grandparent, (or a grandparent where that grandparent obtained citizenship through naturalisation) and where there is no, or negligible, reckonable residency would generally be deemed insufficient to warrant waiving the statutory conditions and would result in a refusal.
While all legislation is kept under review, there are no plans at the moment to amend the applicable rules relating to applications for a certificate of naturalisation. 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.