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Written Answers. - Legislative Amendment.

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 4

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 381. Mr. J. O'Keeffe Information on Jim O'Keeffe Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell  if he will consider amending the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts to ensure that no person, with the exception of a person granted honorary citizenship, can be relieved of the duty of swearing fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State. [24804/02]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell Fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State are fundamental political duties of all Irish citizens under Article 9.2 of the Constitution. This duty applies whether the citizen has acquired Irish citizenship through birth, descent, marriage, naturalisation or as a token of honour.

Exceptionally, section 15 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956, as amended in 1986, provides that I may, at my absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalis[1144] ation if satisfied that the applicant has fulfilled certain requirements, including making a declaration of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State in the District Court. The Act also provides that I can waive this requirement in certain specified circumstances. A person in respect of whom the requirement is waived is, nonetheless, in precisely the same position for the purposes of Article 9.2 of the Constitution as any other Irish citizen, namely, that fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State are his or her fundamental political duties.

The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 2001, which was enacted on 5 June 2001, included changes to Irish citizenship law as it applies to naturalisation and it is not intended to revisit those provisions in the foreseeable future.


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