Written answers

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Department of Justice and Equality

Naturalisation Applications

Photo of Michael McCarthyMichael McCarthy (Cork South West, Labour)
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124. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality when a person (details supplied) in County Cork will receive a decision on an application for Irish citizenship; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32560/15]

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Justice and Equality; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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I am informed by the Citizenship Division of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that there is no record of an application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy.

It is open to any individual to lodge an application for citizenship if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended. Detailed information on Irish citizenship and naturalisation is available on the INIS website at www.inis.gov.ie. The website also contains an on-line naturalisation residency calculator which individuals may find of assistance in establishing if the residency requirements are met.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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125. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applications for citizenship that are awaiting decision, for between six months to 12 months; in excess of 12 months and up to 18 months; and in excess of 18 months. [32575/15]

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Justice and Equality; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of my Department remains committed to meeting the very ambitious target in place to process 70% of all standard non-complex cases within six months of receipt of applications.

Of the 7,500 applications currently pending a decision, 850 (11%) are awaiting a decision for between 6 and 12 months, 550 (7%) are awaiting a decision for between 12 and 18 months and 900 are awaiting a decision for in excess of 18 months (12%). Around a third of the applications pending a decision are at an advanced stage of processing and those applicants will be informed of my decision in due course.

The nature of the naturalisation process is such that for a broad range of reasons some cases will take longer than others to process. It is a statutory requirement that, inter alia, applicants for naturalisation be of good character. In some instances that can be established relatively quickly and in other cases completing the necessary checks can take a considerable period of time. As a result there will always be a proportion of cases that take longer than the norm to process.

Photo of Ruth CoppingerRuth Coppinger (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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126. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will consider an application for citizenship from a person in Dublin 15 (details supplied), given the impact on the payment of university fees for the current academic year. [32580/15]

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Justice and Equality; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the processing of the application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy is at an advanced stage of processing and the case will be submitted to me for decision in due course.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

It is recognised that all applicants for citizenship would wish to have a decision on their application without delay. While most cases are now generally processed within six months, the nature of the naturalisation process is such that, for a broad range of reasons, some cases will take longer than others to process. In some instances, completing the necessary checks can take a considerable period of time.

The Deputy may wish to note that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been established specifically for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

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