Key Points:
· Figures date from 2008 – given the unprecedented changes since then, these are now virtually meaningless.
· 23,400 citizenship applications granted in 2012 compared to 3,117 in 2008.
· Currently, 95% of all valid applications are now approved.
· Since coming into office, the Minister has made a decision to grant citizenship in almost 48,000 cases

Ireland’s citizenship process has been comprehensively reformed since 2008, the year on which the statistical data contained in Immigrant Council of Ireland’s report is based. The report, while reflecting the situation which existed in 2008, does not take into account the changes to citizenship processes which have been made since and therefore cannot be presented as representative of the current position in 2013.

The Report uses figures from 2008 as the basis for its analysis.  In that year a total of 3,117 certificates of naturalisation were granted.  The corresponding figure for 2012 was almost 23,400. This represents an increase of 650% in the numbers granted.  In addition, picking 2008 figures for the analysis, meant that many of those immigrants who would have come to Ireland within a short period of time before 2008 would not be in a position to qualify for citizenship as they needed to be in the State for 5 years.  This would further distort the findings in the report.  Accordingly, drawing conclusions from 2008 data and applying them to the current position when there has been such as sea shift in the figures makes the process virtually irrelevant.    

As well as measures to overhaul and speed up the processing of citizenship applications I have also introduced citizenship ceremonies which provide a sense of occasion that serves to underscore the importance to both the State and the applicant of the granting of Irish citizenship.

Since coming into office I have made decision on over 56,000 applications and 80% of citizenship cases are decided within 6 months compared to 2-3 years back in 2008.  The real story of citizenship since this Government came into office is witnessed through the many thousands who have become Irish citizens in recent years. I am surprised and disappointed at the stark omission of such facts from the Immigrant Council’s report.

29 July 2013