Process to revoke Irish citizenship ‘lacks robust safeguards’
The process under which Irish citizenship can be revoked lacks robust procedural safeguards, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has said.
The human rights watchdog appeared remotely before the Supreme Court yesterday as amicus curiae in the high-profile case Ali Charaf Damache v the Minister for Justice and Equality.
The case questions the lawfulness of the procedure to revoke citizenship as set out under section 19 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 in light of the constitution, European and international law.
The outcome of the case may have an effect on at least 40 other similar matters, the Commission believes.
In its legal submissions to the court, the Commission outlined its view that citizenship is clearly linked with a person’s family and private life, and that the revocation of a person’s citizenship will necessarily and seriously effect other civil rights, including for example the right to vote, and other statutory entitlements.
As a consequence, and given the serious impact on a citizen’s rights, it is the Commission’s view that robust procedural safeguards are essential to this process, specifically the right to a hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal, a process not currently provided for under section 19.
Dr Frank Conaty, acting chief commissioner, said: “The Commission makes available to the court its expertise in relation to its consideration of the constitutionality of the procedure to revoke citizenship under Irish, European and international law.
“Citizenship is inextricably linked with the right to identity and therefore any decision to revoke citizenship must have strong procedural safeguards. This case which will consider the constitutionality of the revocation procedure in Ireland will hopefully clarify this important and far reaching matter.”