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Céad Míle Fáilte

First in-person citizenship ceremonies in over two years take place in Kerry

950 people were conferred with Irish citizenship at two ceremonies at the Gleneagle INEC Arena in Killarney.

LAST UPDATE | 20 Jun 2022

THE FIRST IN-PERSON citizenship ceremonies since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic have taken place in Co Kerry today.

950 people were conferred with Irish citizenship at two ceremonies at the Gleneagle INEC Arena in Killarney.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee hosted both ceremonies, while retired High Court Judge, Mr Justice Bryan McMahon and retired District Court Judge, Mr Paddy McMahon presided over one ceremony each.

Speaking at the second ceremony, McEntee said: “In granting Irish citizenship, Ireland has made a commitment to you, and I think a very symbolic commitment that resonates with our country’s history and with our people at home and abroad. A commitment that you will always, always have a home here with us. A place where you are accepted, where you are valued, where you are celebrated, and indeed, where you are safe,” she said.

“When I wrote to you inviting you to be part of today’s ceremony, I did say to you that becoming an Irish citizen does not mean leaving your own roots, your own culture, your own traditions, your own heritage, behind. In fact, quite the opposite.

We want you to bring your culture, your history, your dress, your poetry, your songs, because we are the much richer for it. I am, this country, each and every one of us, we are the richer for it. We will add them to our heritage and our traditions of poetry, of song, of storytelling, and they will become part of our next history of our great state and it’s wonderful people.

Speaking ahead of the ceremonies, McEntee said she was “truly honoured” to welcome so many people who have chosen to make Ireland their home.

“While I am immensely proud of the online celebration events that my Department has held during the last two years, nothing beats the experience of meeting our newest citizens in person and seeing first-hand how much it means to them to have completed their citizenship journey,” she said.

“Becoming an Irish citizen is a moment to cherish, both for our new citizens themselves and also for their families and friends. By sharing their own unique cultures and traditions with us, our newest citizens become part of our communities and we are all the richer for it.”

A total of 154 citizenship ceremonies have taken place since they were first introduced, with people from over 180 countries receiving their certificates of naturalisation.

Since 2011, approximately 148,000 people have received Irish citizenship since 2011.

The Department of Justice made 11,512 citizenship decisions in 2021, the highest level since 2015.

In July 2020, Ireland was the first European country to host an e-citizenship ceremony as a response to Covid-19 restrictions. This was followed by three online celebration events in 2021.

Last year, McEntee introduced a temporary system that enabled applicants to complete their naturalisation process by signing a statutory declaration of loyalty.

Over 15,000 applicants had the opportunity to receive their citizenship certificates through the temporary system.

Both of today’s ceremonies were live streamed from the Killarney Convention Centre on the Department’s social media channels.

Planning for additional in-person ceremonies in December 2022 in Killarney is currently underway.

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