265. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to change the process by which British citizens who are married to Irish citizens and living and working here for a number of years have to go through the full citizenship process in order to obtain an Irish passport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5063/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): 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.
There is specific provision made in the Act in relation to persons resident on the island of Ireland. Section 15A provides that, where the application is based on being the spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen the requirements include that the couple are married or civil partners to each other for a period of at least 3 years and are living together and, immediately before the date of application, have a period of one year's continuous residence in the island of Ireland and, during the preceding four years, have a further period amounting to 2 years (i.e. 3 years in total).
It is also open to an applicant generally to apply under Section 16(a) of the 1956 Act where the applicant is of Irish descent or has Irish association. In such cases the Minister may in his absolute discretion waive the conditions for naturalisation set out under Section 15 of the Act, including residency. The onus is on the applicant to provide evidence of Irish descent or Irish association to the Minister for consideration.
There are no plans at this time to revisit the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended.
Detailed information on Irish citizenship and naturalisation, along with the relevant application forms and guidance notes, is available on the INIS website at www.inis.gov.ie .