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Migrants shunned for points on licence

Immigrants convicted of minor road offences are being barred from becoming citizens, it was claimed today.

Social justice campaigners said the citizenship process appeared designed to turn away migrants rather than welcome them.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI), which will hold a think-in tomorrow on migration and identity at University College Dublin, called for an overhaul of the system to make it fairer and more efficient.

ICI chief Denise Charlton said: "Many countries require that citizenship applicants be of 'good character'. While other countries spell out what this means in practice, Ireland does not.

"People have been refused Irish citizenship because they have come to the adverse attention of the gardai and this has, literally, meant that people who have had two penalty points on their driver's licence have been deemed ineligible.

"If the Government is going to enforce a system where minor road rule infringements are considered enough to debar a person from ever becoming an Irish citizen, it should be honest and say so."