Back in September, we had good news that one of our Somali clients had been finally granted family reunification for his wife, after a very long wait. And other good news that the husband of an Irish national client was issued with a stamp 4 residency permit. This prompted some thoughts on the difficulties of the Naturalization process in Ireland that we wrote about in our weekly update at the end of September.
Decisions on Natualization: Absurd and Illogical?
I noticed an article in the Irish Times on the 11th September last regarding the difficulties applicants encounter in the Naturalization process in this State. An example is cited in the article of a doctor who had worked for eight years in the Irish health service and who was denied naturalization because she had broken a red traffic light on her bicycle. The reason for the refusal being that because she had come to the “adverse attention ” of the Garda, she was not of good character. Absurd and illogical as that seems, the example typifies current situation in Ireland regarding Naturalization. The area is riddled with such absurdities. All going well, the application process will take over two years for determination. We are informed that the applications are dealt with in chronological order, however, this appears to me to be unlikely given that some applicants wait three, four or more years to receive the Minister’s determination. It was previously found in a High Court case that the Minister is not obliged to determine applications within a reasonable time frame, as he is in respect of other applications. The reasoning behind this decision is that Naturalization is a privilege, and not an entitlement. The decision put an end to many delay cases that were being taken for applicants awaiting a determination for up to four or five years. It was more recently found in a High Court case that the Minister is not even obliged to provide the reasons for a refusal of an application for Naturalization. There is no appeal process for Applicants. Basic fair procedures are just not adhered to in any way in respect of Naturalization applications.
It is very frustrating to say the least for people in this system. For any clients who themselves feel frustrated by this system, I would suggest that they contact the Immigrant Council of Ireland in order to make complaint. This firm is also working hard to bring about some positive changes in the area, through research and lobbying and we would really welcome your comments and experiences to help us do this!