Sinnott Solicitors can confirm that an appeal has been lodged with the Court of Appeal against the surprising High Court ruling in the case of Roderick Jones v. Minister for Justice and Equality [2019] IEHC 519.

In a most controversial judgment which issued recently, Mr Justice Barrett interpreted that continuous residence in the State during the twelve month period preceding an application for Irish citizenship means “continuous”,  the upshot of which means that for citizenship purposes, a person cannot be outside of the State for one day in order to have a successful application. 

Mr. Justice Barrett dismissed this Judicial Review in rather unusual circumstances.  He found that the decision of the Minister for Justice and Equality was unlawful but he also found that the Minister should have, in any event, refused the application of our client in circumstances where he found that the Minister did not have the power to apply the 6 week absence policy when it comes to assessing applications for Irish citizenship. Accordingly, he did not grant an Order remitting the matter back to the Minister to reconsider, but rather he dismissed the Judicial Review.

The judgement appears to state very clearly that in considering somebody’s ‘continuous residence’ for the 12 months prior to making an application for naturalisation, they may not even spend one night outside of the jurisdiction.  The idea that one could not spend five or ten days outside the jurisdiction for personal or business reasons in order to qualify as being “continuously resident” is a difficult concept to grapple with. In those circumstances we believe that the decision of the High Court Judge will not be upheld by the Court of Appeal.  

In our view, the phrase “continuously resident” is intended to cover a position where somebody is not resident anywhere else, even if they have travelled on several occasions through the year to other countries.

The High Court could have quashed the decision of the Minister on the basis of the application of a non-statutory “six week” tolerance period and the matter could have been remitted back to the Minister to be decided in accordance with law as opposed to a situation where the Minister operated some sort of mechanical calculation in respect of nights away.  

The Implications of a Court of Appeal Ruling for Applicants 

If the Court of Appeal set aside the ruling of Mr. Justice Barrett, the case would then be remitted back to the Minster to reach a decision on the application in accordance with the law according to the interpretation that the Court of Appeal give it. We do not yet know how the Court of Appeal will interpret the legislation. However we are very hopeful and we would expect that the Court of Appeal will interpret the legislation in such a way that an Applicant will not be penalised for being outside of the State for reasonable periods of time and in circumstances where the Applicant is resident in Ireland and therefore cannot be deemed to be resident in any other Country. 

We are arguing that a person should be deemed to be continuously resident despite holidays and absences for work or other personal reasons and that the residence should only be deemed not to be continuous if the Applicant took up residence elsewhere. 

The Immigration team at Sinnott Solicitors are specialists in all aspects of immigration law. If you have any queries do not hesitate to contact our Immigration Department today on +353 1 406 2862 or