In a shock statement, a high court judge, Mr. Justice Max Barrett has recently ruled that no applicant can be granted Irish Citizenship if they have spent even 1 day outside of the state of Ireland in the 12 months previous to the application. This ruling has the potential to affect thousands of people applying for Irish citizenship on the basis of residence in the country. Under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, foreign nationals who wish to become Irish citizens have to be legally resident in the State for at least five out of the last nine years, or three out of the last five if married to an Irish national. This also includes 1 year of ‘continuous residence’ in the 12 months up to the date of application.


Over 8,000 people were granted citizenship in 2017, according to European Union data. The decision does not affect those applying for Irish passports on the basis that they have an Irish parent or grandparent. There is no residence requirement for citizenship by descent.


After the ruling, Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has stated that his department was dealing with this matter urgently, to find a solution as quickly as possible. On the 25th July 2019, the Minister obtained Cabinet approval for a proposed Bill in an attempt to combat the High Court ruling. Working with the Attorney General’s office, the Minister will bring the bill before the Houses of the Oireachtas as soon as the recess ends in mid-September.


Source: INIS Updates and Announcements 29th July 2019, RTE News 18th July 2019, 17th July 2019