(YouTube: Fine Gael)
“I CAN NOW feel lucky every day…”
“It feels great to have become Irish…”
“I’m very excited to be part of Irish society…”
“It is such a peaceful country…”
“Now I have a sense of belonging to the country…that has done so much for me…”
These were just some of the statements overheard after today’s Citizenship Ceremonies at Dublin’s Convention Centre.
Retired judges Byran McMahon and Patrick McMahon presided over three ceremonies which saw Irish citizenship granted to 3,092 people from more than 100 countries across the world.
Attending the celebrations today was Minister Alan Shatter, who made the decision on taking office in March 2011 that the granting of Irish citizenship should be marked in a “formal and meaningful way”.
The first ceremony took place on 24 June 2011.
During his speech this morning, he said:
The decision to apply to become an Irish citizen is, I know, one you did not take lightly and today is a major event in your life and that of your family. The oath you will soon take is a solemn personal undertaking and I know it is one you take seriously. Today is also a major event for us as the host nation in bestowing this honour on you.
He also mentioned that today is Martin Luther King Day in the United States, noting that the dream of a country where people “are not judged by the colour of their skin or by their background but “by the content of their character still strikes a chord in the 21st Century”.
My message to all of our new citizens here today is that, upon becoming an Irish citizen, each of you will become a citizen of a State in which you have equal rights, in which your rights as Irish citizens are no different to those Irish citizens whose ancestors were born here and the equal rights of each of you are deserving of equal respect. You are becoming citizens of a State whose Constitution proclaims the equal rights of men and women and whose laws prohibit discrimination against any individual on grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender.