“FOR THOUSANDS OF years, we have been a people of migration – inward not outward,” were some of the opening words by Enda Kenny at a citizenship ceremony held in Dublin yesterday.
“The Irish know what it’s like to be far from home…which is why today we welcome you and your families so warmly,” he continued during the event at Cathal Brugha Barracks.
Over Thursday and Friday, Ireland will grant 2,250 people from 110 countries (and five continents) citizenship at a number of ceremonies at the Rathmines barracks.
The idea of a citizenship ceremony was introduced by Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter on taking office last year and yesterday’s was the 33rd ceremony held since June 2011.
The Government says the ceremonies give “proper recognition to the importance of the granting of Irish citizenship”.
“It is a time of celebration, a rite of passage and a moment for all of you to cherish. It is also a solemn event for this State to grant citizenship,” Shatter said in his address.
We do not award citizenship lightly and it is right that it’s 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.
I wish to congratulate you, one and all, on becoming our newest Irish Citizens – we welcome you to our national family.”
The Taoiseach told the “soon-to-be fellow citizens” that they are now “coming home”.
Today you begin to write your own chapters of Ireland’s history. Your story will become Ireland’s story.”
Both Kenny and Shatter recognised the length of time some people had been waiting to have their citizen applications processed. The Taoiseach said it was “unacceptable and completely out of step with other countries” that the average time was more than two years.
The ceremonies, during which a declaration of loyalty and fidelity is sworn, were presided over by retired judge Bryan McMahon.