The Applicant, a declared refugee of Nigerian nationality, was refused a declaration of naturalisation by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. The Minister decided that the Applicant did not fulfil the condition of being of ‘good character’ under s. 15 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 because he had failed to produce his driving licence when stopped by a Garda. When his case had come to court it had been struck out and no conviction had been recorded. The Applicant asked the Minister to reconsider his decision on the grounds that he had not been convicted of any offence and that he was entitled to benefit from the presumption of innocence. He also argued that the State had a duty pursuant to Article 34 of the 1951 Refugee Convention to facilitate the naturalisation of refugees. The Minister refused to reconsider his earlier decision, and the Applicant sought orders quashing this refusal and requiring the Minister to reconsider the original application.
The High Court held that the Minister could not be compelled to reconsider his decision under s.15 of the 1956 Act and that it was for the Minister to determine what matters ought to be considered in assessing whether a person satisfied the s.15 requirement as to ‘good character.’ The Court recommended that the Applicant lodge a new application and, if necessary, challenge by way of judicial review any further refusal with which he was dissatisfied by reference to the reason given for such refusal if it is based upon non-compliance with the conditions of naturalisation.