High Court rules that child cannot be refused naturalisation based on parent’s failed character test
2019-08-01 12:27:15 -
By Staff Reporter

The High Court has ruled that a seven-year-old child whose application for naturalisation was refused as a result of his father’s criminal conviction should be granted Irish citizenship.

The court also heard that the character assessment against the father included barring orders relating to domestic abuse against the child’s mother.

However, Judge Keane quashed the decision of the Minister for Justice to deny the child citizenship based on his father’s failed ‘good character’ test following an application for judicial review brought by the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI).

“Today justice has been delivered for this innocent child,” said Catherine Cosgrave, managing solicitor for the ICI.
“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.”

 Cosgrave said that 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,” she said.
“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.”
TAGS : High Court child citizenship Immigrant Council of Ireland
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