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Number of people granted Irish citizenship in 2015 almost half that of 2012 peak

Only 13,500 naturalisation certificates were issued to non-Irish nationals in 2015.

Image: Sam Boal

NEW RESEARCH SHOWS that the number of people who were granted Irish citizenship in 2015 was almost half that of the peak in 2012.

Some 121,100 people became Irish citizens through naturalisation between 2005 and the end of 2015 according to the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

However, only 13,500 naturalisation certificates were issued to non-Irish nationals in 2015 –  46% lower than the 2012 peak, when 25,100 certificates were issued.

Naturalisation is the legal process by which a non-Irish citizens may acquire citizenship.

The latest Monitoring Report on Integration estimates that 45% of non-EU immigrants living in Ireland have Irish citizenship.

Education, employment and poverty

The ESRI report examined data from the national assessment tests at primary level education. It found lower reading scores among immigrants from non-English speaking backgrounds than their Irish peers at both second and sixth class.

Employment rates in 2015 were similar but slightly higher for Irish nationals (63%) than non-Irish nationals (60%). However, employment rates varied across national groups and the employment rate was very low for African nationals (around 40%).

More non-Irish nationals were living below the income poverty line (21%) compared to Irish nationals (16%) in 2014.

However, basic deprivation rates (enforced lack of two or more items relating to food, clothing, heating and family/social life) were similar for Irish and non-Irish, as was consistent poverty (being in income poverty and experiencing basic deprivation).

The research found that income poverty rates were particularly high for the non-EU group in 2014 (46%), and have increased in recent years.

The authors said some of this increase may be due to the high and increasing proportion of students in the non-EU population, as well as rising in-work poverty among this group.

Integration policy

Report author Dr Frances McGinnity said, “Notwithstanding the considerable progress made, challenges remain for Ireland in integrating its large numbers of new immigrants.”

Minister of State with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration & Integration David Stanton said:

We now have people from over 199 countries living in Ireland and the changing ethnic, linguistic and faith-based composition of our population presents many opportunities and challenges to policy-makers, institutions and local communities.

“It is crucial that we get our integration policy right.  Our aim must be to ensure that Ireland remains a society in which all persons are welcomed and valued as individuals, regardless of their background, race, colour or creed.”

He added that the report is “deepening our understanding of the Ireland of today so that we can build an Ireland of tomorrow which enables migrants and non-migrants alike to forge better lives for themselves and for their families”.

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