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Question

127. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to review the cost of obtaining Irish citizenship with a view to reducing the cost for adult non-widows, widowers and surviving civil partners of Irish citizens in view of the fact that it is prohibitive for many potential applicants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8722/19]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The fees to be paid by an applicant for a certificate of naturalisation are governed by the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 569 of 2011).
The application fee, stipulated at €175, is payable on application for a certificate of naturalisation and a certification fee is payable on the issue of a certificate of naturalisation. The standard certification fee is set at €950, while a reduced fee of €200 applies in the case of an application made on behalf of a minor or in certain cases where the application is made by a widow, widower or surviving civil partner of an Irish citizen. In the case of recognised refugees and stateless persons the certification fee is nil.
As such, the Regulations make specific provision for particular categories of applicants who may be on a reduced level of income and there is no information available to either myself or Departmental officials that in general, the level of fees is discouraging people from applying for naturalisation. In that regard, it should be noted that once a grant of naturalisation is made in respect of non-EEA nationals, they are no longer required to register their immigration permission or pay the registration fee of €300 each time.
There is no provision in the Regulations for the discretionary waiver or reduction of fees, or for differing fees to apply to different nationalities, or based on length of residency.
The standard fees payable by an applicant are designed to reflect the effort and cost involved in processing applications for a certificate of naturalisation. The Deputy will be aware that formal citizenship ceremonies have been introduced at no extra cost to applicants. These have been universally well received by participants as the ceremonies provide a sense of dignity and occasion that serves to underscore the importance to both the State and the applicant of the granting of Irish citizenship. Any review of fees would have to consider other categories of applicants, such as EU nationals, and the impact any changes would have on the level of fees for other applicants.
The standard fees payable by an applicant are designed to reflect the effort and cost involved in processing applications for a certificate of naturalisation. The Deputy will be aware that formal citizenship ceremonies have been introduced at no extra cost to applicants. These have been universally well received by participants as the ceremonies provide a sense of dignity and occasion that serves to underscore the importance to both the State and the applicant of the granting of Irish citizenship.