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Shane Phelan: 'There have only ever been five revocations of Irish citizenship - it's a rare occurrence'

  

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Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters

REUTERS

Photo: Reuters

The revocation of Irish citizenship is a rare occurrence.

Should it occur to Ali Charaf Damache, he will be just the sixth person it has ever happened to. According to the Department of Justice, there have been five revocations in the past. All of these have been since 2015.

In each of these cases, certificates of naturalisation were revoked under Section 19 (1)(a) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956. This allows the Justice Minister to revoke a certificate if he is satisfied it was procured by fraud, misrepresentation or concealment of material facts or circumstances.

Section 19 (1)(b) of the act is being cited in Damache's case. This allows for a certificate to be revoked where the person is shown to have failed in his duty of loyalty and fidelity to the State. It is argued he failed in his duty by committing a terrorist offence.

The issue has come to the fore in recent weeks following calls for Belarusian-born suspected Isis terrorist Alexandr Bekmirzaev to be stripped of his Irish citizenship since his capture in Syria.

Other sections of the act allow for the revoking of citizenship where the person is at war with Ireland or has by any voluntary act, other than marriage or civil partnership, acquired another citizenship.

Where the person involved disagrees with the decision, the law allows for the issue to be referred to a committee of inquiry for a recommendation.

Irish Independent