An update on the draconian Six Week Rule from Sinnott Solicitors

A number of our clients have faced difficulties with their citizenship/ naturalisation applications because they have been absent from the State for more than Six weeks.

According to the Citizenship Section of the Department of Justice, the last year spent in Ireland prior to the Citizenship Application must be unbroken residency.  If there is an absence of six weeks in any year that must be explained.  We are currently taking cases before the High Court challenging this rule and we expect that the requirement will be deemed unconstitutional. The six weeks absence from Ireland is currently causing a difficulty until such time as the High Court decide whether it is unlawful.  Therefore, if travelling with work it must be set out clearly and the applicant must go back through the past five years and give details of their absences.

Carol Sinnott Solicitor recently spoke to the Irish times about the unconstitutional nature of the six week rule that the department of Justice have implemented. You can read the article here:

We have found that quite a number of our clients travel for work on a very frequent basis and a number of our client have travelled home to see their families which took them over the permitted six week absence.

We have previously publicised the fact that there is no statutory basis for the rule and that we consider that the rule unconstitutional and therefore unlawful. A number of our clients have taken High Court challenges against decisions which were refused on the basis of the six week rule. They have brought judicial review applications against the State for refusing their applications on the basis of the six week rule. On each occasion, the State have settled the cases and our clients achieved a very good outcome. As the terms of the settlements are confidential, we are not at liberty to disclose them in this article. 

This has been great news for many of our clients who otherwise would have been stuck with a refusal with no right of appeal. The State have not allowed any of the Judicial Review applications to proceed to a full hearing. Instead they have settled each case that has been brought before the High Court on the matter. We are very hopeful that a case will eventually be heard by the High Court on the matter where the constitutionality and legality of the rule will be tested.

If your application has been refused because the State have decided that you do not have one year of continuous residence in the year immediately prior to making your application, then Sinnott Solicitors would be happy to advise you on whether you can take judicial review proceedings to challenge the decision.

Sinnott tips and advice if you have been absent for more than 6 weeks

You should explain each absence fully on a separate sheet as follows:

  1. Date that you departed the State
  2. Date that you returned to the State
  3. Reason for Travel
  4. Copy of your travel tickets outbound and return

Some of our very organised clients have drafted excel spreadsheets setting out the above information. A spreadsheet looks excellent and is easy to read. However if you are not spreadsheet savvy, that’s ok! A good explanation of your absences following the above formula is absolutely fine. If your application is refused having explained your absences in the manner set out above, then you too may be in a position to take judicial review proceedings against the State like a number of our clients.

Sinnott Solicitors February 2019