Written answers

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Passport Applications

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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47. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the reason difficulty is been experienced in obtaining an Irish passport in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25179/14]

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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When a person renews his/her passport, s/he is required under the Passports Act, 2008 to submit the previous passport which was issued to him/her. In situations where the renewal of a passport is necessitated from loss or theft, the statement of loss section on the application form must be completed by the applicant and duly witnessed by a member of An Garda Siochána. In this case the person in question was issued a passport in 2007 which was valid for five years. However, this was not submitted with her recent renewal application. Moreover, she did not complete the statement of loss to explain the absence of the previous passport from her application. In these circumstances the Department considers that the application is incomplete and as such is not compliant with the Passports Act, 2008. Accordingly, the Department wrote to the applicant on two occasions to inform her of this problem. In the latest letter, dated 29 May, 2014, the applicant was requested to complete the required statement of loss. Once this is done and returned to the Passport Service, her application will be approved for passport issue.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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48. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if an extension of time may be given to facilitate provision of information in respect of application for passport in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25217/14]

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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The Passports Act, 2008 provides, among other things, that only Irish citizens are entitled to be issued with Irish passports. Each application received by the Passport Service must, therefore, contain relevant evidence that clearly demonstrates that person’s entitlement to Irish citizenship before a passport can issue to him/her. The child in question was born in the State in 2010. His entitlement to Irish citizenship is, therefore, subject to the terms of section 6A of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956, as amended (the Act). This provides that a person, born in the State on or after 1 January 2005, where neither parent is an Irish or British citizen or otherwise entitled to reside in the State or Northern Ireland without restriction at the time of that person’s birth, may claim citizenship by birth in the State (and thereby establish eligibility for an Irish passport) only where a parent has been lawfully resident in the State for three years of the four years preceding that person’s birth. In line with guidelines provided by the Department of Justice, Equality and Defence, which is responsible for immigration and citizenship, the proofs of lawful residence of a non-EU parent, which are accepted and considered by this Department for the purposes of passport applications are immigration stamps in passports or the registration cards/books, which are given to persons registering with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB). In some cases, letters from GNIB which provide details of issued immigration stamps, are also accepted. These are official documents which can be objectively verified by the Department.

A passport application for this child was received by the Department on 11 April 2014. However, it could not be finalized for passport issue because the amount of his mother’s lawful residence, which was calculated from the submitted evidence, was insufficient to demonstrate his entitlement to Irish citizenship.

It should be noted that the evidence of the mother’s lawful residence, which was taken into account by the Department, was stamps in her passport, her registration card and a letter, dated 8 October, 2013, from GNIB. (The latter detailed the stamps which were issued to her.)

The Department wrote to the applicant’s mother on 2 May, 2014 to inform her of this problem and to give her notice of the proposed decision to refuse a passport to the applicant under the Passports Act, 2008 on the grounds that he is not an Irish citizen. This letter set a deadline of 30 May for the receipt of representations and/or information that may be relevant to the proposed decision. No reply has been received to this letter.

In terms of additional information/evidence that may be relevant to this case, the following should be noted:

(i) no evidence has been presented in the submitted application that shows that the applicant’s mother was an Irish citizen at the time of the applicant’s birth. If such evidence exists, it would prove that the applicant is an Irish citizen and that his entitlement is not subject to section 6A of the Act; and

(ii) in a recent ruling of the Supreme Court, letters from the Department of Justice, Equality and Defence, which sanctioned a parent’s residence in the State, could be accepted as evidence of lawful residence from the date of the letter. This was an important ruling in that a period of residence between the date of the letter and the date of a subsequent stamp, issued by GNIB, was reckonable for the purposes of section 6A of the Act.

If evidence in regard to the above exists, it should be submitted to the Department for consideration. This may help to finalise this application to passport issue.

I have asked the Passport Service to extend the deadline for receipt of any such information up to the end of June 2014.

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