Recent Irish Court referral to the Court of Justice of the EU seeking legal clarification


This case concerned Mr Tarola, a Romanian citizen who arrived in Ireland in May 2013 although he had previously lived in Ireland from May 2007-Dec 2007. Mr Tarola worked from 22 July 2013 to 24 September 2013 and then from 8 July 2014 to 22 July 2014. Mr Tarola was also a self-employed subcontractor from 17 November 2014 to 5 December 2014. On 6 November 2014, Mr Tarola sought job seeker’s allowance for the second time, which was refused on 26 November 2014. The Minister concluded that Mr Tarola had not worked more than a year and there was insufficient evidence to establish Ireland as his habitual residence. Mr Tarola appealed to the High Court arguing that the two week period of employment gave him the right to reside as a worker for six months after his employment in July 2014, pursuant to Article 7(3)(c) of the Citizenship Directive, as transposed into our domestic law by Article 6(2)(c)(iii) of the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations (No.2) 2006. Justice White held that the two week period as a casual labourer was not sufficient to bring him within the terms of Article 7(3)(c).

Court of Appeal

The question to be answered was whether the two week period of employment entitled Mr Tarola to extend his residence as a worker in Ireland which would entitle him to claim social security payments. Justice Hogan held that given the variety of possible interpretations of Article 7(3)(c), the acknowledged absence of any definitive ruling on what is a very important aspect of the general law of free movement of workers, and the fact that there is no apparently easy or straight forward answer to the questions raised in the course of the appeal, the case for a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union pursuant to Article 267 TFEU was obvious. The appeal will stand adjourned pending the outcome of a ruling from the Court of Justice. The question put forward was as follows:

“Where a citizen of another EU member state arrives in the host state and works for a two week period for which he is genuinely remunerated and thereafter becomes involuntarily unemployed, does that citizen thereby retain the status of a worker for no less than a further six months for the purposes of Article 7(3)(c) and Article 7(1)(a) of Directive 2004/38/EC such as would entitle him to receive social security benefits on the same basis as if he were a resident citizen of the host State?”