The applicant was a 75 year old Nigerian national who arrived in the State in 2005 and claimed asylum. She was recognised as a refugee in 2008 and in 2012 became a naturalised citizen. The applicant applied for family reunification with her granddaughters who were dependant upon her. The application was refused by the Minister and the applicant brought judicial review proceedings challenging that refusal.
The applicant claimed that the decision was unlawful because the Minister failed to address certain submissions made on her behalf, and because the Minister disregarded the requirements of both Article 41 of the Constitution of Ireland and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, in reaching it. The applicant also contends that the Minister’s decision concerning was invalid because the reason given for it was impermissibly opaque and inadequate, because it was irrational or unreasonable, or both, and because it was capricious.
Keane J. noted that there was no evidence in the decision of any consideration of the family rights between the applicant and one of her granddaughters, and that the decision was therefore unlawful. It was held that it was incumbent on the Minister to consider the concrete reality of the relationship between the persons concerned and the extent to which it was one of “de facto family ties” protected by the right to family life under Article 8 of the Convention, and to set out the Minister’s reasoning on that issue expressly in the decision. It was also held that there was a fundamental error of law in the Minister’s decision in the manner and basis upon which it purported to identify the best interests of one of the children such that it could not stand, and that the Minister’s decision to refuse the permission sought for the child was couched in terms so vague and opaque that the rationale for it was neither patent nor capable of being inferred from its terms and context.