The Irish Court of Appeal has rejected the appeal of an Irish-born child who sought to challenge the Minister for Justice’s refusal to recognise him as an Irish citizen.
The Minister refused to grant the applicant a passport because his father’s refugee status was revoked in 2014 when it emerged that he had given false and misleading information when he applied for asylum in 2005. The applicant’s father was granted refugee status in 2006. He travelled to Afghanistan to visit his dying mother in 2012 and was stopped by immigration officials on his return to Dublin. His fingerprints matched those of a man who had been refused refugee status in the UK in 2002. He was later informed that the Minister for Justice was revoking his refugee status with effect from August 2013 as he had given false information in his asylum application, including that he had left Afghanistan in 2004 and had never applied for asylum anywhere else.
The applicant was born in June 2013 and an application was made in February 2014 for an Irish passport. The Minister for Justice refused to grant this passport because he was not satisfied that the boy was an Irish citizen. The boy, through his father, sought judicial review of this decision in the High Court. In the meantime, the boy and his mother were granted refugee status in Ireland. The father was also granted refugee status on the basis of family reunification.
In the High Court, the applicant argued that, because his father was resident in Ireland for the specified period set out in the Irish Citizenship and Nationality Act, the Minister’s refusal to grant him an Irish passport should be quashed and he should be declared an Irish citizen. The High Court rejected the claim that the Minister had erred in deciding that the applicant was not an Irish citizen despite his father having lived here for more than three out of the four years immediately preceding his birth in 2013.
The applicant appealed this decision to the Court of Appeal where the appeal was dismissed. The Court cited the “undisputed” evidence that the residence permission granted to the father, which the applicant relied on to ground his claim of citizenship was obtained by the father through false information. This did not constitute permission within the meaning of Section 5.1 of the Immigration Act 2004, which provides that a non-national may not be present in the State, other than in accordance with a permission of the Minister. The revocation of his father’s refugee status meant that Section 5.3 of that Act, which refers to family members of refugees, did not operate to disapply Section 5.1. As the applicant’s father’s presence in the State was not valid for the purposes of his son’s citizenship, the appeal must be dismissed.
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