125. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if it is possible for persons with residency status here to travel to the United Kingdom, or to work in the United Kingdom, without undermining their application for citizenship. [18767/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The granting of a certificate of naturalisation is governed by the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended. Section 15 of the Act provides that the Minister may, in her absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions as stipulated in the Act are fulfilled. In particular, these conditions require that an applicant is of good character; has had a period of one year's continuous residency in the State immediately before the date of application and, during the eight years immediately preceding that period, has had a total residence in the State amounting to four years; that he or she intends in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation; and has made a declaration in the prescribed manner of fidelity to the Irish nation and loyalty to the State.
I make decisions on naturalisation applications in accordance with the provisions of the Act and based on all of the information available to me. If a person is resident outside of the State during the year prior to the date of application then the application would fall to be refused as the statutory conditions for naturalisation are not satisfied. Where an applicant moves to the UK or another country and resides for work or other purposes after having applied for naturalisation, then an assessment will be made as to whether the applicant intends to reside in the State following naturalisation. If it is deemed that the applicant has few tangible ties to the State and/or is unlikely to return to the State within a finite period then the application may be refused on the basis that the statutory conditions for naturalisation are not satisfied.
The granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and I know the Deputy will appreciate that it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.
The Deputy may wish to note that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been established specifically 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 INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited. Question No. 126 answered with Question No. 123.