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Fianna Fáil TD apologises for asking how many Muslims have applied for Irish citizenship

Eamon Scanlon said that the question had been “misinterpreted”.

A FIANNA FÁIL TD has apologised for a question regarding the number of Muslims who have applied for citizenship in Ireland, saying that he didn’t mean to cause any offence.

Eamon Scanlon came under fire this week over a question he submitted to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald concerning the number of Muslims who have applied for Irish citizenship in the past three years.

The full question is as follows:

63. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Muslims who have applied for Irish citizenship in the past three years; the number of these who are legally living here for the past three years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17652/16]

Scanlon was strongly criticised for the question, with people asking the Sligo-Leitrim representative to clarify his statement.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, Scanlon said that the question had been “misinterpreted” and apologised for any offence caused.

“I put down a PQ in relation to the number of Muslims who have applied for Irish citizenship as a constituent was inquiring about this issue,” said Scanlon.

It has come to my attention that my parliamentary question has been misinterpreted and I wish to apologise for any offence caused which I can genuinely assure you was completely and utterly unintended.
There are people of many different ethnic beliefs and nationalities in Ireland and they all make a tremendous contribution to Irish society.

Response 

In her response, Minister Fitzgerald said that a person applying for citizenship had no requirement to disclose their religion.

“The entitlement to Irish citizenship through naturalisation is governed by the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended,” the minister said.

Section 15 of the Act provides that the Minister may, in her absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled.

These conditions require that the person applying for citizenship must be of full age and good character.

They must also have been resident in Ireland for a certain number of years and have had promised to faithfully observe the laws of the State.

Minister Fitzgerald finished her answer by saying:

In accordance with the provisions of the Act as outlined above, this information does not include any requirement for details of a person’s religion and accordingly the information sought by [the] Deputy is not available.

Scanlon was first elected as a TD in 2007 but lost his seat in 2011. He was reelected this year.

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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