Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
434. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if he will consider holding postponed citizenship ceremonies online in view of the restrictions due to Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5616/20]
Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, the next scheduled citizenship ceremonies for Friday 3 July 2020, at the INEC in Killarney have had to be postponed.
As the Deputy will be aware, citizenship ceremonies were first introduced in 2011 in order to mark such a significant and important event in a solemn, dignified and appropriate manner. Since then, 151 ceremonies have taken place at various venues throughout the country at which 100,000 applicants have received their certificates of naturalisation.
My officials are currently exploring alternative options to ensure these events are delivered in the dignified and solemn manner appropriate to such an important milestone. It is also essential that any arrangements put in place satisfy the relevant statutory requirements while ensuring the event is a meaningful experience for participants. Apart from satisfying the relevant criteria under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, each applicant must also take an oath of fidelity to the State at the ceremony, administered by a Presiding Officer, normally a retired member of the Judiciary.
All options being considered to facilitate the delivery of citizenship ceremonies will be in a manner that protects public health, complies with current restrictions and guidelines including social distancing protocols and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of participants: applicants, their guests, my officials, the judge and venue staff.
Further updates will be provided by way of a ministerial statement and on the Immigration Service website when available, and I would encourage the Deputy to view our updates on the Immigration Service website at: