Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the effect of motoring offences on an application for naturalisation including minor parking offences; if such offences permanently act as a barrier to securing naturalisation in the long term; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39571/12]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. One such condition is that I must be satisfied that the applicant is of good character.
In relation to the good character requirement, a background check is carried out by the Garda National Immigration Bureau in respect of all applicants. Where an applicant has come to the attention of the Gardaí, a report is referred to INIS, and the details of that report are considered in full. It would be neither possible nor appropriate for me to indicate how specific offences will be considered in any future application as each case is considered by me on its individual merits and while it is neither possible or appropriate given the wide range of possibilities to be more specific, normally a very minor motoring offence of itself would not lead to a refusal on character grounds. In relation to more serious motoring offences, clearly, the longer the period of time during which no further offences occur the better the prospects of a positive decision in a future application.