Filter

Question

100. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason persons (details supplied) in County Mayo are being refused citizenship; his views on whether there is a discrepancy in the way the INIS is applying the rules; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7210/19]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The statutory conditions for naturalisation set out in the Irish Nationality & Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, require that an applicant have a period of 1 year's continuous residence in the State immediately before the date of application. In addition, an applicant must have four years residence in the State during the 8 years immediately preceding that period (in the case of an application based on being the spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen the Act reduces this further period to 2 years during the preceding 4 years).
Applicants must therefore establish to the Ministers satisfaction that they have been resident in the State for these periods in order to be eligible for naturalisation. To this end, applicants should submit evidence with their application verifying that they satisfy the residency requirements for naturalisation. Failure to do so could result in an application for naturalisation being deemed ineligible.
Applicants should also note that compliance with the statutory conditions for naturalisation set out in the 1956 Act does not automatically mean that an applicant will be granted a certificate of naturalisation. This is because in cases where the statutory conditions for naturalisation have been satisfied the Minister nonetheless retains an absolute discretion as to whether to grant a certificate of naturalisation.
It is therefore very important for applicants to note that any absences from the State in excess of six weeks during the year immediately preceding the date of their application could result in the Minister exercising his absolute discretion to refuse to grant a certificate of naturalisation notwithstanding that they may have satisfied the statutory conditions for same set out in the 1956 Act. Where applicants are absent from the State in excess of six weeks during the year immediately preceding the date of their application the policy of the Minister is to only grant a certificate of naturalisation if satisfied that the travel was demonstrably unavoidable or due to exceptional circumstances. Applicants who find themselves in this position should submit as much information as possible with their application to verify that any travel outside of the State in excess of six weeks during the year immediately preceding their application was unavoidable or due to exceptional circumstances.
Every application for naturalisation is considered having regard to circumstances of the applicant, the statutory conditions for naturalisation set out in the 1956 Act and the Ministers policy on the need for applicants to be physically present in the State for the full duration of the year immediately preceding the date of application
The applications for naturalisation in respect of the persons referred to by the Deputy have been reviewed and the position remains as stated in the original decision. The applicants were informed of this by letters dated 24 October 2018.
It is open to any individual to lodge an application for a certificate of naturalisation if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory conditions for naturalisation prescribed in the Act.
Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.