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'Ireland is great ... it has never tried to invade or enslave another country'

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald was speaking about the country’s merits at a citizenship ceremony today.
Jan 23rd 2015, 3:29 PM 29,759 269

JUSTICE MINISTER FRANCES Fitzgerald has welcomed Ireland’s newest citizens at a ceremony in Dublin.

Since June 2011, more than 59,000 people have been made Irish citizens in 100 such ceremonies.

Fitzgerald told attendees at today’s event that an Irish passport is a “highly-prized possession”.

Because, while Ireland has sent our people, our literature and music – not to mention Irish pubs – all over the world, Ireland has never invaded any other land, never sought to enslave or occupy.We come in peace and we stand for peace.

The minister told the audience members they have “the same rights, the same duties and the same responsibilities as every other Irish citizen”.

The possibilities opened up to you in Ireland today are almost limitless; perhaps one day, you or a child or grandchild of yours, could be up here as a Minister for Justice, or as Judge, or perhaps the President of Ireland.

“You belong. You’re Irish. You belong here. You’re one of us.”

Here are some photos from today’s ceremony:

All images: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

The first citizenship ceremony, which was held in Dublin Castle in June 2011, was attended by 73 candidates for citizenship. Since then, ceremonies have been held in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Templemore and Tipperary.

The processing time for citizenship applications has reduced from 31 months in 2011 to less than 6 months today.

Ireland grants citizenship to foreign nationals at a greater rate than every EU country bar one

Meet some of Ireland’s newest citizens

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Órla Ryan

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