238. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a person can apply for citizenship in circumstances (details supplied). [24989/19]
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. A determination on whether an applicant satisfies the statutory criteria attendant to naturalisation can only be made after an application is received.
Section 15 of the Act provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation if satisfied that certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. The conditions are that the applicant must :
- be of full age, or a minor born in the State,
- be of good character,
- have 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, have had a further total residence in the State amounting to four years,
- intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation,
- have, before a judge of the District Court in open court, in a citizenship ceremony or in such manner as the Minister, for special reasons, allows—
(i) made a declaration, in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State, and
(ii) undertaken to faithfully observe the laws of the State and to respect its democratic values.
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.
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.
If the applicant believes he has an entitlement to Irish citizenship through descent an application for an Irish passport should be made directly to the Passport Office, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Detailed information on Irish citizenship and naturalisation, along with the relevant application forms and guidance notes, is available on the INIS website at ww.inis.gov.ie.