High court ruling on Irish citizenship

Irish Passports

A recent High Court ruling could have a massive impact on anyone who has applied or intends to apply for Irish Citizenship by naturalisation. The Immigrant Council of Ireland have this useful overview of the ruling we would recommend reading.

Requiring an applicant to have been physically present in Ireland for a full year before an application is unrealistic in today’s world and makes no allowances for travel for work, holidays or personal or emergency reasons. We hope that this ruling will be appealed and also that there will be an amendment brought in to give some certainty to many concerned citizenship applicants.

On Thursday 18th July 2019, Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, issued the following statement in relation to the ruling:

‘I know that the ruling from the High Court has caused concern and may have been unsettling for people in the Citizenship process.

I want to reassure people that my officials are carefully studying the ruling in consultation with the Attorney General’s Office. This issue is being dealt with as an urgent priority and I will take any necessary action to resolve it.’

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) also issued this statement on Friday 19th July 2019:

‘We are aware that the judgment in this case has given cause for concern and may have been upsetting for many people who are in the citizenship process. We want to assure you that we are taking all appropriate steps to remedy the situation as quickly as possible. The best interests of applicants and future applicants are foremost in our considerations.

In the meantime, Citizenship Division is continuing to receive and process applications. Planning for the next Citizenship Ceremony in September is also underway. We are not advising citizenship applicants or future applicants to cancel any current or upcoming travel plans.

Our advice for people who are planning to apply for citizenship is to continue to collect all the necessary proofs that support your application and to submit a comprehensive application form. Once a solution is in place, if any additional information is required, you will be contacted as part of the processing of your application.

We do not believe that this ruling has consequences for anyone who has already obtained citizenship under the Act.

We ask for your patience while we put in place a solution as an urgent priority. Further updates will be posted on this website when available. If you would like to speak to us about your case, you can contact us as follows www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/contact-citizenship.’

The Citizenship Division of INIS most recently confirmed the following on Monday 29th July:

‘The Department is continuing to work on finding solutions to the situation as quickly as possible. The best interests of applicants and future applicants are foremost in our considerations.

On Thursday 25 July 2019, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan obtained Cabinet approval for a proposed Bill, which seeks to resolve the issue that has arisen in the recent High Court judgment.

The Minister’s intention is to work with the Office of the Attorney General and instruct the Office of Parliamentary Counsel to have a bill drafted on an urgent basis and before the Houses of the Oireachtas for consideration in mid-September as soon as the recess ends.

It is intended that the Citizenship Ceremony scheduled to take place at the end of September will still go ahead and planning is taking place on that basis.

In respect of the judgment itself, yesterday (25 July 2019), a date was set for an appeal to be heard by the Court of Appeal. Our advice for people who are planning to apply for citizenship is to continue to collect all the necessary proofs that support your application and to submit a comprehensive application form. Once a solution is in place, if any additional information is required, you will be contacted as part of the processing of your application.

We do not believe that this ruling has consequences for anyone who has already obtained citizenship under the Act.

We ask for your continued patience while we put in place a solution as an urgent priority. Further updates will be posted on this website when available. If you would like to speak to us about your case, you can contact us as follows http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/contact-citizenship.’

The decision is currently being appealed to the Court of Appeal, with a provisional date for the hearing set for 8 October 2019. We will keep you informed of any developments. In the meantime, follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates as they arise.