Citizenship granted to 4,000 people
“The history of this State is now your history and the narrative of your life is now part of our history.” With these words Minister for Justice Alan Shatter welcomed Ireland’s newest citizens at one of four citizenship ceremonies, which are being held in the Convention Centre, Dublin over the course of today.
By the day’s end, 4,000 people from 110 countries will have been sworn as Irish citizens having made a declaration of loyalty to the nation and fidelity to the State as well as undertaking to faithfully observe the laws of the State and respect its democratic values.
“I wish to congratulate you, one and all, on becoming our newest Irish Citizens – we welcome you to our national family,” Mr Shatter told one group of new citizens after they had made their declaration.
In his speech, Mr Shatter said Ireland was enriched by the presence of these new citizens. “You have come to our country and have chosen to live among us. Some of you have been waiting a considerable time for this day to arrive. Today, we welcome you to our nation as its newest citizens and we hope that you will continue to contribute to our communities, to our neighbourhood and to our society.
“As a people we have been enriched by your presence and in making you citizens of our ancient and proud land we are acknowledging that contribution,” Mr Shatter said.
He said that, as Minister for Justice and Equality, he had the duty of deciding who should be awarded the privilege of citizenship. “In doing so, I have to carefully apply the citizenship laws enacted by our parliament and consider the individual circumstances of those who seek Irish citizenship.
"I take that duty very seriously, as I am acting on behalf of all Irish people in deciding who should be granted the privilege of Irish citizenship. We do not award citizenship lightly and it is right that its granting is marked by a sense of occasion that serves to underscore its importance to you, the person receiving it, and to us who, on behalf of the people of Ireland, grant it to you."
It is almost one year since 73 people were granted citizenship in the first pilot ceremony in Dublin Castle. Since then, about 50 such ceremonies have taken place, while another 11 are planned for later in the year.
The emotion of those who had participated in the ceremony was obvious. A tearful Mohammad Shoaib, a Bangladeshi doctor working in Navan, said he came to Ireland eight years ago for love because his wife was a citizen.
Asked how he would celebrate, he gave a very Irish answer: “I think I will take a cup of tea".
However, he said the day was also tinged with sadness. “It's a mixture of joy and pain because we are in dire troubles now. The common people of Ireland, they are suffering. I feel for these people,” he said.