An Irish citizenship
Sir, – On April 1st, I accompanied a friend to the Convention Centre for citizenship ceremonies. Several ceremonies were held that day to confer citizenship on 4,000 people from all over the globe. Despite a very long wait to gain admittance, the mood amongst the crowd was cheerful and the company pleasant and it did not rain.
The ceremony itself was a delight and impressive, with eloquent speeches from Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and Judge Bryan Mahon. Subsequent to the ceremony, my friend was overjoyed and showed me her brand new certificate of naturalisation which we studied together. The certificate was completely in the Irish language, no English translation provided, and I had to confess that this official language was beyond my competence. We agreed that as the certificate was to be of use only for official purposes the lack of translation was not going to spoil an otherwise happy day. Quite what the other 3,999 new citizens made of it is moot.
A few days later, my friend presented at a Garda station armed with passport application form, supporting documents, photos, etc. for authentication as required by Passport Office rules. She stated her purpose to the garda on duty who then demanded proof of Irish citizenship whereupon my friend proudly produced her brand new certificate of naturalisation.
This was taken and then carefully examined for several minutes, even held up to the light, and the fine fellow then declared that as it was all in Irish he could not fully understand what it said. He asked for further proof of citizenship and of course none was possible save a letter from Minister Shatter or his department confirming the authenticity of said certificate. Driving licence, bank cards, etc. were not proof she was told. Despite our loss of economic sovereignty it seems that Irishness is alive and well. Sure where else would you get it? – Yours, etc,