This is an important update on submitting applications for Irish citizenship by naturalisation. In the recent appeal of a refusal of Irish citizenship by Roderick Jones, it was argued that the Minister ought not to have refused the application where the applicant had spent 100 days abroad in the year leading up to his application, as there were valid reasons for Mr Jones’ absence from the state and it did not suggest that he was no longer continuously resident. The High Court however made a surprising decision, by applying a literal interpretation of the word continuous in the legislation.  It was held that any absence whatsoever from the state during the year prior to application would make the applicant ineligible for naturalisation.

Prior to this decision, the Minister had followed a six-week rule, allowing for absences amounting to a total of six weeks, and finding that such absences do not amount to the loss of continuous residence. The Court has held that the Minister has been acting outside the power given to him by the legislation by allowing up to six weeks of absence, and that the legislation provides for no allowable time outside the state in the year preceding the application.

This leaves a lot of people in a difficult situation; those who have planned their application in reliance on the ‘six week rule’ and those who have applications in process. It was expressed by the Judge that the legislature might step in to ease what appears a heavy burden, especially to those required to travel for work. In the meantime, it appears we have a a limbo situation.

We now understand that the Jones case has been appealed, and is listed for hearing on October 8th in the Court of Appeal.

The above is intended for information purposes only, and is not intended to be relied upon as legal advice. Please contact us on 01 – 676 3257 for advice specific to your needs. We, at Fitzsimons Redmond, are happy to discuss with you any questions and concerns you might have in relation to your naturalisation application.

By Lisa Quinn O’Flaherty, solicitor at Fitzsimons Redmond