Citizenship & Political Participation
Access to citizenship rights through naturalization and participation in the political process and public life are key elements to the successful integration of migrants and refugees into Irish society. Nasc works in both of these areas to promote migrant integration.
Successful campaigning by ourselves and other migrant organisations over the last several years has meant that access to citizenship has improved considerably.
According to the Migrant Integration Strategy (2017), more than 100,000 persons from over 170 countries have become Irish citizens since citizenship ceremonies were introduced in 2011. However the Irish citizenship application process continues to be a major source of concern for Nasc and our clients.
As it stands, citizenship remains primarily a matter of ministerial discretion, with no clear guidelines on what is likely to constitute a successful application and no access to an appeals mechanism. In addition, the high fees can cause great difficulties in the case of low income families or families with multiple applications.
We believe that citizenship needs to become a right, enshrined in and protected by legislation rather than a privilege granted on an ad-hoc basis by the Minister designated by the government of the day.
Nasc has campaigned for many years to promote migrant political participation through voter registration drives, hustings and information sharing events. We successfully campaigned for the inclusion of voter registration forms in Citizenship Packs. Between 2015-2017, we worked on an EU funded ‘Participate’ project with organisations throughout Cork County, nationally and internationally to provide ‘marketplace style’ events for migrants to learn about their political rights and how to participate locally, nationally and internationally.