Judge quashes decision to deny child citizenship on basis father failed ‘good character’ test
A seven year old child who was refused Irish citizenship due to father’s criminal conviction has had the decision quashed by Judge Keane of the Irish High Court after the Immigrant Council brought the case forward for judicial review. The bad character assessment against the father included barring orders relating to domestic abuse against the child’s mother.
Catherine Cosgrave, Managing Solicitor, Immigrant Council of Ireland, said, “Today justice has been delivered for this innocent child. Judge Keane identified that the law could be interpreted in two different ways, but in his ruling said the reading that the decision should be based on the child’s character was ‘more consistent with justice’. The Court noted it was unable to find any example from any other country where the eligibility conditions of a child to apply for naturalisation would be predicted on the ‘good character’ of the parent through whom the application was submitted.
“At the heart of this ruling is a recognition of a child’s right to be heard and independently assessed. It is clearly ludicrous for any child to be denied citizenship based on the character of her father when the assessment of bad character relates to domestic abuse the child and mother suffered at his hands. While, procedurally, applications can be made on behalf of a child by a parent, from a child rights perspective, the substantive citizenship decision must relate to their intrinsic personhood. This is a very welcome result.”
Note to editors
The Independent Law Centre of the Immigrant Council of Ireland provided free legal support for the child to bring the case to Judicial Review.
Our immigration helpline on 01 674 0200 is open from 10am until 1pm Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Managing Solicitor Catherine Cosgrave is available for comment
Contact Pippa Woolnough, Communications and Advocacy Manager, Immigrant Council of Ireland, to arrange interview.
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