Dáil Éireann - Volume 674 - 12 February, 2009
Written Answers. - Citizenship Applications.
Deputy Michael Ring Deputy Michael Ring
Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of naturalisation applications ongoing at present; the waiting time from application to decision; and the reason the waiting period is comparatively much longer than the time it takes in other European countries. [5372/09]
Deputy Dermot Ahern Deputy Dermot Ahern
Deputy Dermot Ahern: There are currently 16,929 applications for naturalisation with the Citizenship Division of my Department that are still awaiting a decision.
 Following the decentralisation of the Citizenship Division to Tipperary Town, substantial resources have been made available to it in order to reduce backlogs and provide a better quality service to all applicants. This has had a positive impact on processing times and the average time from application to decision for the generality of valid applications is now at 22 months. It is expected that this will progressively improve over the coming year and the Division is currently commencing further processing of applications received in mid 2007. A significant number of applications are initially found to be invalid for a variety of reasons and these are now being dealt with and returned to the applicant within a week. More complicated cases can at times take more than the current average while an element of straight forward cases are now being dealt with in less than that time scale.
The Deputy will appreciate that there is a limit to the reduction in the processing time that can be achieved as applications for naturalisation must be processed in a way which preserves the necessary checks and balances to ensure that the status of citizenship is not undervalued and is only given to persons who genuinely satisfy the necessary qualifying criteria.
Dáil Éireann 674 Written Answers. Citizenship Applications.