The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service posted an updated statement on the INIS website yesterday the 11th of September from the Minister for Justice and Equality concerning the processing of citizenship applications and what the government is doing to remedy the catastrophic findings of the High Court in the case of our client Roderick Jones v Minister for Justice and Equality 2019 IEHC 519.
For anyone who is unaware of this case, in July 2019 Mr Justice Barrett dismissed our client’s application for judicial review challenging the decision of the Minister for Justice and Equality to refuse his application to be granted Irish citizenship.
Our client Mr Jones applied to be granted Irish citizenship by naturalisation, but his application was deemed ineligible because he had spent over six weeks outside of the State in the 12-month period preceding his application for holiday and work purposes. Our client sought judicial review of the negative decision of the Minister for Justice and Equality and challenging the policy applied by the Minister that a person cannot be outside of the State for more than 6 weeks during the 12-month period prior to the application.
In a most surprising decision Mr Justice Barrett found that the decision of the Minister for Justice and Equality in allowing the six week discretionary period (which permits for temporary absences from the State of up to six weeks) in the final 12 months preceding the citizenship application, was unlawful, and held that Minister did not have the power to apply the 6 week absence policy when it comes to assessing applications for citizenship.
Mr Justice Barrett also found that the Minister should have, in any event, refused our client’s application for citizenship because he had been outside of the State during the 12 months preceding his application for citizenship, and therefore the case was dismissed.
The ruling of Mr Justice Barrett, which has been appealed to the Court of Appeal by our client and is fixed for hearing on the 8th of
October 2019, has thrown the entire citizenship application process into complete chaos and has caused significant concern and upside to many individuals who have applied for Irish citizenship by naturalisation, or plan to do so in the future.
In July the Minister for Justice and Equality Mr Charlie Flanagan obtained cabinet approval for a proposed bill to deal with the significant problems arising from the High Court judgment. Yesterday he announced that work is currently ongoing to finalise the draft bill. The Oireachtas is due to return from its summer recess on the 17 th of September and the Minister has indicated that he intends to introduce the Bill to the Houses of the Oireachtas as soon as possible on their return given the urgency of the matter.
We understand that the citizenship ceremony previously scheduled for the end of September has been cancelled however once the Bill is enacted, arrangements will be made by the Department of Justice and Equality to reschedule the cancelled ceremony.
If you have any queries on your application for Irish citizenship or wish to discuss any immigration matter, do not hesitate to contact the office of Sinnott Solicitors today on +353 1 406 2862 or firstname.lastname@example.org .