4,400 new Irish take part in citizenship ceremonies

Shatter tells newest citizens ‘you are becoming part of Ireland’s future’

Jennet Mapa and her husband Martin from Zimbabwe photographed at the Convention Centre where she received her Irish citizenship. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish  Times

Jennet Mapa and her husband Martin from Zimbabwe photographed at the Convention Centre where she received her Irish citizenship. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Thu, Jul 4, 2013, 19:31

Some 4,400 people have been declared Irish citizens yesterday in a series of ceremonies held in the Convention Centre in Dublin.

In the last of four ceremonies which took place yesterday a cry of joy went up as Judge Rosemary Horgan formally declared those present Irish citizens.

The crowd was addressed by the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore who said the granting of that citizenship was a momentous occasions in their lives.

“It is also a momentous occasion for us, that you have decided to become an Irish citizen, and to bring your talents, your energy, your rich experience to our common endeavours,” he said.

The Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter told the 1,100 people who took part in the last of the day’s ceremonies that “today in the most concrete possible way you are becoming part of Ireland’s future”.

“Your future is now interwoven with the future of this State, its citizens across the globe and, in particular, all of us who live on this island. For those of you granted citizenship today you are becoming citizens of a republic, a constitutional democracy which recognises the personal rights of each of you as individuals and which greatly values inclusiveness, tolerance and diversity.”

Following the ceremony some of Ireland’s newest citizens talked about what it meant to them. Ayo Ogbemudia from Nigeria who has been here since 2001said receiving citizenship was “better than Christmas Day”.

Her sister Olawunmi Akilo who lives in Portlaoise said she “could not describe” her happiness: “I’m so excited. This is 14th year in Ireland and finally I became fully Irish today”.

Luis Campana who hails from the Philippines and who works as a technician in St James’ Hospital said he had been touched by comments made by the Minister for Justice during the ceremony who thanked those new citizens who work in the Irish medical system.

“It made me feel great to become a new Irish citizen. We feel that we are all welcome and I hope we can contribute to this country,” he said.

For Lynn Ferguson who hails from the US yesterday was a double celebration given that the ceremony happened to fall on the 4th of July, American Independence Day.

Having lived here for the past six years she sought Irish citizenship as her great grandparents were born here: “I love Ireland. I like the way people here are so concerned about other people, I think in the States we’ve lost some of that,” she said.

Since the first citizenship ceremony took place in June 2011 almost 42,000 persons from 170 countries have been granted Irish citizenship.