EQUAL STATUS ACTS 2000 AND 2012
DECISION NO. DEC-S2017-025
A State Agency
File reference: ES/2013/0069
Date of issue: 26th July 2017
HEADNOTES: Equal Status Acts – Time limits
1.1 This dispute concerns a claim by the Complainant that he was discriminated against by State Agency G on grounds of Gender, Marital Status, Family Status, Race , Victimisation and Discrimination by Association contrary in terms of Section 3 (a) , sub-sections 3(2) (a),(b),(c),(h) and (j) of the Equal Status Act, 2000-2012.
1.2 The Complainant referred his claim against Agency (G) to the Director of the Equality Tribunal under the Equal Status Acts on the 26th June 2013. On the 15th March 2017 in accordance with section 25 of the Equal Status Act 2000 to 2012, the Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission then delegated the case to me, Michael McEntee, an Equality Officer, for investigation, hearing and decision and for the exercise of other relevant functions of the Director on which date the investigation under Section 25 commenced. Submissions were received from both sides and as part of my investigation I proceeded to a hearing on the 16th May 2017.
2 Summary of Complainant’s submission
2.1 The Complainant was an applicant for a Certificate of Naturalisation in January 2006. A Decision not to grant a Certificate was issued by Agency G on the 9th September 2010.
The Complainant maintains that this decision was legally flawed as the Agency colluded improperly with third parties, principally the Immigrant Council of Ireland, in arriving at this decision. There was clear Discrimination on the grounds of Gender, Marital Status, Family Status, and Race in arriving at this decision. In addition it was a decision contrary to Articles 38 and 40 of the Irish Constitution ,the Guardianship of Infants Act,1964 , the European Convention of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In a detailed submission the Complainant maintained that matters proper to and In Camera before the Family Courts were relied upon by Agency G in arriving at their decisions. This was entirely improper. From Freedom of Information requests the Complainant established that documents, to his detriment, were on his file with Agency G, which could only have come by improper means from the Family Court.
Agency G did not afford him natural justice in allowing him, an opportunity to rebut the Family Court documents and additional negative details that could only have come from his estranged partner and various lobby agencies such as the Immigrant Council of Ireland. He was denied, contrary to the rules of Natural Justice, the presumption of Innocence, in the decision making proceedings by Agency G.
3: Respondents Submission
3:1 The Respondent is the State Agency responsible for the issue of Irish Naturalisation Certificates under the Irish Nationality and Citizenships Acts 1956 and 1986.
3:2 The Agency has a well established protocol and procedures for processing the considerable volume of applications received each year.
The Agency writes to the Garda National Immigration Bureau to establish if
1. The subject has come to the adverse attention of the Gardaí since arriving
in the State?
2. Has the person a criminal record in the State?
3. Are legal proceedings pending against the person involved?
Following the receipt of answers to these questions the Minister for Justice and Law Reform using his absolute discretion decided not the grant the application.
All allegations of interference or collusion by outside agencies are baseless and without any foundations. All issues of Family Law are outside the remit of the Agency and the Agency had no involvement with any of these proceedings.
The Complainant has not established, in even the most basic fashion, any substantial prima facie grounds to substantiate his allegations.
4 Time Limits
Although not raised by the Parties I have to investigate the issue of time limits. The complainant submitted his claim on 26 June 2013. The last date of discrimination stated on Form ES 3 was given as the 2nd of April 2013. However, it is clear to me that the principal issue was the non granting of a Certification of Naturalisation in September 2010. I did not find any prima facie evidence of a “continuance of discrimination” from September 2010 to the date alleged by Complainant i.e. the 2nd April 2013.
Section 21(6) of the Equal status Act 2000
(6) ( a ) Subject to subsections (3)(a)(ii) and (7) , a claim for redress in respect of prohibited conduct may not be referred under this section after the end of the period of 6 months from the date of the occurrence of the prohibited conduct to which the case relates or, as the case may be, the date of its most recent occurrence.
( b ) On application by a complainant the Director of the Workplace Relations Commission or, as the case may be, the Circuit Court may, for reasonable cause, direct that in relation to the complainant paragraph (a) shall have effect as if for the reference to a period of 6 months there were substituted a reference to such period not exceeding 12 months as is specified in the direction; and, where such a direction is given, this Part shall have effect accordingly.
The naturalisation decision complained of was in September 2010 and the Equal Status Complaint was lodged in June 2013. It follows therefore that under Section 21(6) of the Equal Status Acts 2000, quoted above, the claim is out of time and cannot proceed.
5:1 This decision is issued by me following the establishment of the Workplace Relations Commission on 1 October 2015, as an Adjudication Officer who was an Equality Officer prior to 1 October 2015, in accordance with section 83 (3) of the Workplace Relations Act 2015.
5:2 In reaching my decision, I have taken into account all the submissions, written and oral that were made to me. In accordance with section 25(4) of the Equal Status Acts, I conclude this investigation and issue the following decision.
5:3 The claim is outside the time limits specified in Section 21(6) of the Equal Status Act 2000 and accordingly must fail on these grounds.
Equality Officer /Adjudication Officer
26th July 2017