Citizenship rules for Spouses of Irish Citizens in UK should be amended

Seán Sherlock TD
24 August 2017

Labour spokesperson on Justice, Sean Sherlock TD has highlighted a growing problem that will impact on many Irish citizens currently living in the UK when Brexit happens. The Minister for Justice should consider now amending the rules of naturalisation for those who may wish to take Irish citizenship if married to an Irish citizen in the UK.

Deputy Sherlock said:

“There are thousands of Irish people who have married UK citizens and are living outside of the island of Ireland.

“Many never thought that the UK would leave the EU and the question of citizenship entitlement would not have been a concern.

“However, those spouses of Irish citizens currently cannot apply for Irish citizenship if they haven’t been resident in Ireland for a period of at least a year, and in the four years before that lived in Ireland for two years. Altogether, they must have lived in Ireland for three years out of the last five.

“The Minister for Justice has the power to waive one of more conditions for naturalisation if you are the spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen.

“It is time now to consider waiving the residency requirement for spouses of Irish citizens living in the UK who may wish to take Irish citizenship when the UK leaves the EU.

“This could be a time limited measure tailored specifically to Irish citizens married to UK subjects who may wish to take Irish citizenship. He should also consider naturalisation for UK citizens married to Irish citizens who reside throughput the European Union.

“To counter any concerns about marriages of convenience, the rule change should apply only to those married before the referendum to leave the EU.”

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