Tuesday, 14 May 2019
Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters
I also want to talk about immigration matters. I refer to the naturalisation fees charged. There is a €175 application fee and a fee of €950 for certification of naturalisation, a total of €1,125. I have come across many UK citizens living in my area and across the country who are very fearful about their situation with Brexit looming. Approximately 300,000 British citizens live in Ireland and approximately one third of them do not qualify for citizenship through lineage by way of having either an Irish parent or grandparent. Therefore they would need to go through the naturalisation process to obtain an Irish passport.
In 2016, a total of 98 British citizens applied for naturalisation. That jumped up to 529 in 2017 and in 2018, a total of 665 British citizens were naturalised. That is obviously because of Brexit. I have spoken to people on doorsteps in my area and they are very fearful of what might happen. They cannot afford the naturalisation fees. These are people who may be married to an Irish citizen and may have been living here for many years. I spoke to one lady who has lived here for 40 years and has adult children who are Irish citizens but she cannot afford this outrageous fee of €1,125. That fee of €950 for certification of naturalisation is waived in the case of a recognised refugee or stateless person. I am asking for the fee to be waived for a defined period for our friends and neighbours from the UK who have been living here for a defined period of time. These people have contributed so much to this country and deserve a bit of a break at this point.