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October appeal date set in case of citizenship being denied if applicant has spent day outside Ireland

Last week’s surprise High Court ruling was branded by “absurd” by experts with the Justice Minister promising “urgent action”.

File photo. Four Courts in Dublin city
File photo. Four Courts in Dublin city
Image: Leah FarrellRollingnews.ie

THE COURT OF Appeal has set a date of 8 October over a controversial High Court decision last week which ruled that nobody can be granted Irish citizenship if they have spent a single day outside the country in the past year.

The judgement handed down by Mr Justice Max Barrett could affect thousands of people applying for citizenship in Ireland on the basis of their residence here. 

Experts dismissed the ruling as “absurd”, arguing that the law on citizenship has never been interpreted so strictly before.

In practice beforehand, the policy had been to allow applicants up to six weeks out of the country in the final year of their citizenship application. Under the interpretation of the relevant law by Mr Justice Barrett, crossing into Northern Ireland counts as leaving the country. 

Today, the president of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham set the date of Tuesday 8 October for the landmark case. 

In the wake of last week’s ruling, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan promised “urgent action” after the shock ruling. 

Flanagan said: “This issue is being dealt with as an urgent priority and I will take any necessary action to resolve it.”

The Immigrant Council of Ireland is asking people to wait and see what happens and what action the government takes. They are not expecting a “quick fix”, a spokesperson told TheJournal.ie

With reporting from CJ McKinney, Dominic McGrath

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Sean Murray

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