Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Question 73: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the position regarding an application for a passport in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17081/11]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 68, 73 and 79 together.
A passport application for the person in question was submitted in May, 2011. In accordance with the provisions of the Passports Act, 2008, this Department must be satisfied that an applicant is an Irish citizen before issuing him with a passport.
As the applicant was born in the State in February, 2011 her entitlement to Irish citizenship is governed by Section 6A of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956, as amended (the 1956 Act). The 1956 Act provides that a person, who is born in the State on or after 1 January, 2005 and does not have a parent who is either an Irish or British citizen or otherwise entitled to reside in the State or Northern Ireland without restriction, may claim citizenship by birth in the State (and thereby establish eligibility for a passport) only where a parent has been lawfully resident in the State for three of the four years preceding the birth of the child.
This Department assesses such applications in line with guidelines provided by the Department of Justice and Equality, which is responsible for matters of citizenship and immigration. In accordance with these guidelines, the proofs of lawful residence, which are accepted and considered in connection with passport applications, are immigration stamps in passports or the registration cards/books which are given to persons registering with the Garda National Immigration Bureau. These are official documents, which can be objectively verified and are relied on by the Department in the processing of passport applications.
In line with the requirements of the 1956 Act, the lawful residence in the State of the applicant's father in the four year period preceding his daughter's date of birth was examined. Based on the evidence of immigration stamps in his passport, the total amount of reckonable residence did not meet with the statutory requirement of three years. It should be noted that, in accordance with the guidelines of the Department of Justice and Equality, residence in Ireland in relation to permissions to stay in the State for studying is not reckonable for the purposes of the 1956 Act. Any period of the father's residence, which has been authorised by immigration authorities for study, was therefore, excluded from the Department's calculation. As the child's entitlement to Irish citizenship had not been demonstrated in accordance with the guidelines of the Department of Justice and Equality, this Department could not issue a passport to her.
The Department wrote to the applicant's parents on 30 April, 2011 and again on 16 June 2011 to explain this decision. Moreover, the parents were asked to submit immigration details in respect of the mother to see if she had the required amount of reckonable residence. Unfortunately, no reply has been received from them.
In light of the above, I regret to inform you that, as the applicant's entitlement to Irish citizenship has still not been demonstrated in accordance with the Department of Justice and Equality's guidelines, this Department remains unable to issue a passport to the person in question at this time.