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Citizenship ruling ‘absurd in a globalised world’ – Kenny

18 July, 2019 - by Martin Kenny TD

Speaking in response to the High Court ruling last week on requirements for Irish citizenship, Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Martin Kenny TD has said that the ruling creates absurd circumstances and that an urgent appeal must be made by the Minister of Justice, Charlie Flanagan.

Deputy Kenny said:

“The case was taken to challenge the Minister’s policy of allowing only six weeks absence abroad in the year before application. However, as a result, the court ruled that, in law, the Minister had no right to this discretion at all.

“The requirement to be ‘continuously resident’ in Ireland the year before applying for citizenship literally means that an applicant can never leave the state, not even for one day, not even to go up North, which is an impossibility for those living near the border, some of whom live and work on different sides of it.

“The ruling is a strict interpretation of the law, but it is absurd in a globalised world and was almost certainly not the intention of the Oireachtas in enacting the law.

“An appeal may overturn the judgement, but probably the best way to ensure this interpretation does not remain a possibility, is to amend the legislation. It is unfortunate that the ruling was made on the very day the Dáil rose and now will have to wait until September for amendment.

“The Minister has said he is consulting with the Attorney General and hopefully they are preparing to go to the Supreme Court urgently to appeal this ruling and preparing draft legislation to introduce at the earliest opportunity.

“The strict application of this rule can exclude committed members of our society who rightly want to participate more fully in Ireland by becoming citizens.

“This goes against everything that a diverse, inclusive and welcoming society should be.” 

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