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140 former asylum seekers became Irish citizens today

Speaking at a ceremony in Dublin, Minister Alan Shatter welcomed 1,000 new citizens “from states whose names commence with almost every letter of the alphabet”.

Minister Alan Shatter at a citizenship ceremony last month.
Minister Alan Shatter at a citizenship ceremony last month.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE Alan Shatter today welcomed 140 former asylum seekers who have now been granted Irish citizenship, at a ceremony in Dublin.

Over 1,000 new Irish citizens were present at the ceremony, where Shatter congratulated the men and women originating from 120 nations, “from states whose names commence with almost every letter of the alphabet”.

“Some of you come from troubled parts of the world, from states currently experiencing major difficulties and turmoil, such as Syria; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Somalia; Egypt; Iraq; and South Sudan,” Shatter said in his address.

“Many of you come from democratic nations and others from nations that have not truly experienced democracy for any extended length of time,” he added.

The minister said that 140 of the people becoming Irish citizens today are men and women to whom the State has granted political asylum.

“So, without doubt, some of you have travelled a long and arduous road with many twists and turns before arriving at this day,” he said.

The minister praised his department for their work in processing applications, with over 70 per cent of citizenship applications processed within six months.

I have the responsibility and duty, on behalf of the Irish nation, to ensure that the grant of citizenship is given in accordance with the laws of our country.  This is a duty I take very seriously indeed and no decision to grant, or indeed to refuse, citizenship is ever taken lightly.

Since Shatter took office in 2011, some 52,000 people have become new citizens in Ireland with around 20,000 applications per year.

Read: Lack of information on asylum-seeker deaths ‘shambolic’>

Read: Over 100 people rescued from sinking asylum-seeker boat off Australia>

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