The issue raised in these proceedings was effectively whether a refugee who subsequently acquires Irish citizenship by naturalisation lost the right to family reunification pursuant to section 18 of the Refugee Act 1996. The evidence before the court was that between 2010 and 2017 the Minister for Justice accepted applications for family reunification from refugees who had acquired Irish citizenship by naturalisation, but on foot of legal advice in 2017 the Minister reverted to the pre-2010 position that such persons lost their right to refugee family reunification upon naturalisation. The applicants challenged this position in judicial review proceedings. The High Court ( IEHC 113) dismissed the applicants’ challenge, and the applicants appealed.
The Court of Appeal agreed with the High Court that in order to be eligible for refugee family reunification, a person must meet two requirements: first, be the holder of a declaration of refugee status, and second, that he or she continue to be a refugee within the meaning of the statutory definition. The Court of Appeal was satisfied that the refugee declarations which had previously been granted to the applicants had been revoked by operation of law once they acquired Irish citizenship and they were therefore no longer eligible for refugee family reunification.
Decision: Appeal dismissed.