302. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the progress to date in the determination of an application for citizenship in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24086/22]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Applications for naturalisation received by my Department are processed in chronological order. The application for the person referred to by the Deputy will be registered in the coming weeks. Following initial assessment of the application, my Department will issue an application reference number.
My Department is taking a number of steps to speed up the processing of applications and a number of digitisation measures have also been introduced to increase efficiency in the process, including eTax clearance, eVetting and online payments. The end result of the digitisation process will be to free up more staff to focus on processing applications in a timely and efficient manner, to improve service to our customers and reduce waiting times. From the beginning of this year, applicants are also no longer required to submit their original passport with their initial application.
In 2021, my Department issued 11,512 citizenship decisions, which is the highest number of decisions made since 2015, and reflects positively the significant changes undertaken to date. Additional staff have also been assigned to the citizenship team.