Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
151. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the situation with respect to an application for a passport in respect of a person (details supplied); when the application was made; the response they received; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10346/09]
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Micheál Martin): A passport application was received by the Passport Office in respect of the person in question on 25 November 2006. The applicant’s mother stated that the applicant’s father was born in Ireland and that the applicant was, therefore, an Irish citizen and thus entitled to an Irish passport. The person identified as the child’s father died prior to the child’s birth. Section 7 of the Passports Act 2008 requires that the Minister for Foreign Affairs shall be satisfied that a person is an Irish citizen before issuing a passport. Proofs of identity and entitlement to citizenship are required in respect of all passport applications.
In the case in question, the applicant’s mother provided certain documentation as evidence of entitlement to citizenship which purported to establish the identity of the applicant’s father. These documents were insufficient to confirm that the individual named by the applicant’s mother is the father of the applicant. The Department wrote to the applicant’s mother on 10 January 2007 to inform her that, pending the receipt of satisfactory evidence of Irish citizenship, it was unable to issue a passport to the applicant. The Department outlined the proofs required to establish citizenship.
In March 2007, in response to further queries from the applicant’s mother, the Department explained further how the relevant proofs might be obtained and took the additional step of contacting the Legal Aid Board on her behalf. However, my Department received no further correspondence on behalf of the applicant.
Two years passed before the appearance on 1 March of the newspaper articles referred to by the Deputy. In these articles, it is reported that a brother of the person through whom Irish citizenship is claimed has prepared an affidavit acknowledging the applicant as his brother’s daughter and that he has offered to undergo DNA tests to support the child’s right to citizenship. No such affidavit has been received by the Department, nor, prior to the appearance of the newspaper articles, had there been any contact from the family of the person through whom citizenship is claimed.
Last week, a member of the family made contact with the Department on this matter. The Department will liaise with this family member and the applicant’s mother to assist them in establishing whether the applicant is entitled to Irish citizenship. My Department has at all times sought to be of assistance to the applicant and her mother, within the constraints of its legal obligations, and will gladly issue a passport to the applicant if citizenship can be established.
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