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FRONTLINE WORKERS ARE among over a thousand people who have received Irish citizenship over the last three months.
1,200 people have received Irish citizenship since 18 January under a new temporary statutory declaration process which replaces the need for applicants to attend citizenship ceremonies.
The ceremonies, which are usually a requirement, have been suspended due to the pandemic.
Instead, under the temporary system, applicants can complete the naturalisation process by signing a statutory declaration of loyalty.
The Department of Justice intends to have communicated with all applicants who had been in the system for 24 months as of 30 December by the end of June as part of efforts to process a total of around 24,000 applications.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said that “around 1,200 people have received their Irish citizenship in the 10 weeks since I opened the temporary statutory declaration process”.
“I understand that this includes a significant number of frontline workers who have made such vital contributions during the pandemic,” McEntee said.
“This is fantastic news for the people involved and demonstrates clearly that the process is working,” she said.
“A further 1,159 people have returned their signed statutory declarations and we will be sending them their certificates of naturalisation in the coming weeks.
“We achieved our target of communicating with 4,000 people by the end of March and are now extending the statutory declaration process to a further 2,500 people. By the end of June, 6,500 people will have been given the opportunity to complete their Irish citizenship.”
People who received a certificate of naturalisation this year should be contacted by the department with an invitation to an online celebration event at the end of April.
“I look forward to seeing you there and congratulating you in person,” McEntee said.
The manual Garda Vetting stage of the naturalisation process has been replaced from this week with an online system.
“Applicants will now complete the vetting process online, submitting the result directly to the citizenship team to enable the timely processing of their application.”
In March, the Department of Justice said it is unable to process citizenship applications from healthcare workers as a priority because it does not have the systems to do so.