12,900 citizenship forms ruled invalid

 

ALMOST HALF the 26,100 people who applied for Irish citizenship in the 12 months to June 30th, 2010, have had their applications forms sent back because they didn’t fill them in correctly.

New figures released by the Department of Justice yesterday show its citizenship division is struggling to cope with a deluge of applications, with average processing times now 26 months.

A note on the citizenship division’s website warns applicants that 10 per cent of all its resources are wasted on assessing poor-quality applications, which have to be returned. The main reasons are: a failure to provide certified copies of documents (39 per cent); statutory declarations not completed correctly (25 per cent); affidavits needed (15 per cent); supporting documentation needed (10 per cent); name discrepancies between form and certificates of birth and marriage (5 per cent); and forms being incomplete or altered with correction fluid.

In an answer to a parliamentary question from Fine Gael TD Alan Shatter, Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern revealed 12,900 invalid applications were sent back in the year to June 2010. Some 6,200 valid applications were deemed ineligible as the applicant did not meet statutory requirements. Some 5,700 valid applications were approved and 1,400 refused.

“The main negative factors contributing to refusal of naturalisation are where I cannot be satisfied that applicants are of good character and/or have not demonstrated that they are in a position to support themselves and their dependants into the future,” said Mr Ahern. Mr Shatter said the figures highlighted the system was “dysfunctional” and there was a lack of transparency.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland said the system badly needed fundamental reform as no clear rules were set out for applicants.