Written Answers - Citizenship Applications.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 698 No. 1

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  139.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform  Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern   the position regarding an application for citizenship in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46527/09]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  A valid application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy’s Question was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in June 2008.

All valid applications are dealt with in chronological order as this is deemed to be the fairest to all applicants. The average processing time from application to decision is now at 24 months. More complicated cases can at times take more than the current average, while an element of straight forward cases can be dealt with in less than that timescale. However, I understand that the person concerned is a refugee. In accordance with the Government’s obligations under the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, every effort is made to ensure that applications from persons with refugee status are dealt with as quickly as possible. Officials in the Citizenship Division inform me that further processing of the application has commenced and the file will be submitted to me for a decision in due course.

The length of time taken to process each application should not be classified as a delay, as the length of time taken for any application to be decided is purely a function of the time taken to carry out necessary checks. There is a limit to the reduction in the processing time that can be achieved as applications for naturalisation must be processed in a way which preserves the necessary checks and balances to ensure that it is not undervalued and is only given to persons who genuinely satisfy the necessary qualifying criteria.

  140.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform  Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern   the position regarding eligibility to apply for citizenship in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46528/09]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in his absolute [257]discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. The conditions are that the applicant must—

be of full age

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 total residence in the State amounting to four years

intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation

have made, either before a Judge of the District Court in open court or in such a manner as the Minister for special reasons allows, a declaration in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State.

In the context of naturalisation, certain periods of residence in the State are excluded. These include—

periods of residence in respect of which an applicant does not have permission to remain in the State

periods granted for the purposes of study

periods granted for the purposes of seeking recognition as a refugee within the meaning of the Refugee Act, 1996.

It is open to the person concerned to lodge an application for a certificate of naturalisation with the Citizenship Division of my Department if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements.

  141.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform  Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern   the position regarding the residency status in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare in view of the fact that charges against them were struck out by the courts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46530/09]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  The person concerned claimed asylum in the State on 16/10/1998 and had his claim examined by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, following which it was recommended that he should be recognised as a refugee on 6 November 2000. The person concerned was advised of the decision to issue him with a formal declaration of refugee status and was also advised of the rights and entitlements accompanying refugee status in the State. The person concerned continues to hold the status of refugee in the State. An application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy’s Question was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in November 2009.

The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. One such condition is that the person in question intends in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation. In the application submitted, the person concerned answered Question 6.1 by stating that he did not intend to reside in the State after naturalisation, therefore he does not comply with this condition. Consequently, the [258]Citizenship Division of my Department have deemed his application ineligible. The person in question was informed of this decision in a letter issued to him on 4 November 2009.

It is open to the person concerned to lodge a new application for a certificate of naturalisation if and when he is in a position to meet the statutory requirements.

  142.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform  Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern   the position regarding an application for citizenship in the case of persons (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46531/09]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Valid applications for certificates of naturalisation from the persons referred to in the Deputy’s Question were received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in November 2004.

All valid applications are dealt with in chronological order as this is deemed to be the fairest to all applicants. The average processing time from application to decision is now at 24 months. More complicated cases can at times take more than the current average, while an element of straight forward cases can be dealt with in less than that timescale. Officials in the Citizenship Division inform me that processing of both applications is ongoing and the files will be submitted to me for a decision in the near future.

The length of time taken to process each application should not be classified as a delay, as the length of time taken for any application to be decided is purely a function of the time taken to carry out necessary checks. There is a limit to the reduction in the processing time that can be achieved as applications for naturalisation must be processed in a way which preserves the necessary checks and balances to ensure that it is not undervalued and is only given to persons who genuinely satisfy the necessary qualifying criteria.


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