Under Section 19(2) the Minister for Justice before revoking a person’s citizenship is obliged to give intention of notice to revoke a Certificate of Naturalisation and must clearly set out the reasons for this intention.
Section 19(3) provides that if the person wishes they may request an inquiry before a Committee which is chaired by a person having judicial experience and that Committee then reports its findings to the Minister for Justice.
In the case of Damache v Minister for Justice [ IESC 63], the Supreme Court found that Section 19 was unconstitutional.
The court found that as the Minister began the revocation process, appointed the committee to undertake the inquiry and made the final decision to confirm or revoke the statutory process, that it was contrary to fair procedures. It granted declarations that Sections 19(2) and 19(3) be struck down in their entirety but found that it was not necessary to strike down section 19(1), which contains the ministerial power to revoke and the grounds for such revocation.
Paragraph 134 of the judgment states the following:
“….the issue with s. 19 comes from the fact that the process provided for does not provide the procedural safeguards required to meet the high standards of natural justice applicable to a person facing such severe consequences as are at issue in these proceedings. In particular, an individual facing the prospect of revocation of a Certificate of Naturalisation must be entitled to a process which provides minimum procedural safeguards including an independent and impartial decision-maker. In the circumstances, I have come to the conclusion that s.19 does not meet the high standards of natural justice required and is therefore invalid having regard to the provisions of the Constitution. For that reason, I would allow the appeal from the decision of the High Court.”
Following the declarations, new statutory provisions for the revocation of certificates of naturalisation need to be passed however this has yet to happen. Until it does, the Minister for Justice cannot exercise the statutory powers to revoke a certificate of naturalisation.
Another important case regarding the refusal/revocation of Irish citizenship is the case of UM (a minor) -v- The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Passport Appeals officer David Barry  ICEA 154. In this case the minor child was born in the State to Afghan national parents. The father was granted refugee status in 2006, whilst his mother came to Ireland in 2012 through family reunification and was later granted refugee status in 2015.
The fathers refugee status was revoked with effect from the 31st of August 2013 due to a previously fraudulent asylum claim in the UK. An Irish passport application was submitted on behalf of the child in February 2014 however the Minister for Foreign Affairs failed to accept that UM was an Irish Citizen and UM’s application for an Irish Passport was refused on that basis.
Stewart J in the High Court  IEHC 741, held that residence procured in that way could not be deemed to be reckonable residence for the purposes of citizenship.
The Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s finding and found that the revocation of the applicant’s fathers declaration of refugee status meant that the declaration was not ‘in force’ during the time he was physically present in the State and therefore his residence was not deemed reckonable for the purposes of his son’s citizenship application. The Court of Appeal relied on the principle that “fraud unravels everything” and no benefit could therefore flow from the father’s refugee status which should never have been granted.
The matter was further appealed to the Supreme Court who overturned the decisions of the High Court and Court of appeal on the 2nd of June 2022.
The Supreme Court held as follows:
“On the face of it, it is difficult to argue with the conclusion of the Court of Appeal that a declaration of refugee status which is revoked in circumstances where the revocation took place because the applicant had provided false and misleading information would appear at first instance to give rise to a view that the declaration, being based on a false premise, was void ab initio. However, it seems to me that, in order to reach that conclusion, it is necessary to ignore the fact that the Minister has a discretion as to whether or not to revoke and is only required to do so when it is considered appropriate to do so. The giving of such a discretion to the Minister would have enabled the Minister in an appropriate case to consider the effect of a decision to revoke on those who would appear to have obtained derivative rights prior to revocation. Taking that language into consideration, together with the language used in s.5 of the 2004 Act, it seems to me that, while a declaration is in force, and until such time as it is revoked, it must be regarded as being valid. I simply cannot accept the view that the effect of revocation in such circumstances is to render the declaration void ab initio. In those circumstances, I would allow the appeal. “
The court also found that in the absence of clear language to the contrary, statutes could not retrospectively change the legal nature of past conduct. The revocation of refugee status took effect from the date of revocation and did not relate back to the facts leading to the revocation.
This decision is significant in circumstances where the court highlights the importance of taking account of derivative rights, such as those of children impacted by any decision to revoke refugee status.
If you have any concerns in relation to your Irish citizenship do not hesitate to contact our highly experienced team of immigration professionals on +353 1 406 2862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.