The Applicant was a Chinese national and a refugee. She applied to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform under section 15 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956, as amended, for a declaration of naturalisation as an Irish citizen.
The Minister refused her a declaration of naturalisation in the exercise of his absolute discretion under section 15 of the Act of 1956 as amended.
The High Court inferred from the Ministerial examination of the Applicant’s file that she had been denied naturalisation because her sons had criminal convictions, albeit for minor offences. Edwards J. held that although the Minister is not generally obliged to give reasons, he ought to have done so in the particular circumstances of the Applicant’s case. While the Minister has absolute discretion, he must act judicially in the exercise of that discretion. To the extent that the convictions of the Applicant’s sons were taken into account, the Court was satisfied that these were irrelevant considerations and that they ought not to have been given any weight.
For these reasons, the High Court quashed the decision of the Minister and awarded the Applicant her costs.