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Racist graffiti outside Convention Centre mars citizenship ceremonies for new Irish citizens

3,860 people from 123 different countries were made naturalised Irish citizens.

001 Citizenship ceromonies have been taking place today in the Convention Centre Dublin. Denise Lyons Denise Lyons

RACIST GRAFFITI HAS been daubed outside the Convention Centre in Dublin on the day that citizenship ceremonies were taking place inside.

The graffiti seems to have been painted overnight and is on both sides of the bridge on North Wall Quay. Incorrectly spelled it attempts to say, “Population replacement factory”.

Today, 3,860 people from 123 different countries were being made naturalised Irish citizens with the Immigrant Council of Ireland saying it has “placed a cloud over what should be a celebration”.

“It is unacceptable that once again racist graffiti has appeared overnight in a city centre location, in this case opposite the main Department of Justice Office at Burgh Quay which handles immigration applications,” says Denise Charlton of the ICI.

The appearance of hate messages on hoardings and public buildings in central Dublin is now a regular occurrence and those responsible are not only acting with apparent immunity but are becoming more brazen.

002 Denise Lyons Denise Lyons

In May and February there were two separate incidents of xenophobic writing being painted in Dublin, incidents that are by no means isolated, with the ICI arguing that simply painting over them is not enough.

The group say that one out of every 10 reports of racism they receive involves graffiti and damage to property, saying that those responsible should be found and prosecuted.

Citizenship Ceremonies. Pictured this 3,860 people from 123 different countries became naturalised Irish citizens today. Sam Boal Sam Boal

Today’s ceremonies are the first to be officiated by the new Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald. The minister said that wait times for the successful granting of citizenship is down from over 2.5 years to six months or less in some cases.

Fitzgerald said that her first such ceremony meant that it was a “special day” for her, adding that it is the responsibility of Irish people to welcome new citizens.

For many years Irish people the world over who travelled far from their homes benefitted from, in that wonderfully evocative phrase, “the kindness of strangers”. It is now our turn as a people and as a nation to return that kindness and to say to you and all qualifying applicants; come and be part of our nation.

Read: ‘Shocking’ racist messages to be removed immediately from N7 >

Read: Racist graffiti painted opposite Immigrant Council offices >

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