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Married couples among 21 people who became Ireland's newest citizens in online ceremony

Today’s pilot online ceremony is one of the first of its kind in Europe.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee pictured during today's virtual ceremony.
Justice Minister Helen McEntee pictured during today's virtual ceremony.
Image: Department of Justice

TWENTY-ONE PEOPLE drawn from nine countries officially became Irish citizens today during one of the first virtual ceremonies of its kind in Europe. 

The pilot event was attended by 21 applicants who had opted not to attend the ceremonies that took place in early March in Co Kerry due to concerns around Covid-19.

The majority of the new citizens come from the UK (10), with people from China (3), Poland (2), and one each from Lebanon, Thailand, Russia, Romania, India and Brazil, forming the remainder of the diverse group.  

The oldest applicant was 84 while the youngest was 26.  Nine of the applicants were aged over 70.

The 21 people, among them two married couples, vowed to faithfully observe the law of the state and respect Ireland’s democratic values, in a declaration of fidelity and loyalty during today’s ceremony, the final step in completing the naturalisation process. 

“Becoming a citizen of one’s country goes to the essence of our democracy and constitutional principles – principles which I as a Minister of this Government have the honour to uphold,” Justice Minister Helen McEntee said in welcoming the candidates for citizenship to today’s ceremony.

“I extend a warm welcome to you, the candidates, who will shortly become Ireland’s newest citizens. Together with your family and friends we join with you in celebrating this major event in your life.”

_SVS8562 Rosa Griffin during today's naturalisation ceremony Source: Kevin Griffin

_SVS8593 Source: Kevin Griffin

Among those naturalised today was Rosa Griffin, originally from Belém Pará in Brazil.  

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“The ceremony was fantastic and really well organised. It was so emotional, I could feel the warm Irish welcome from Minister McEntee’s speech to everyone in the meeting,” she said. 

Due to the restrictions imposed by pandemic the full citizenship ceremonies due to take place later this months are cancelled. However, if a review of today’s pilot ceremony is deemed successful, it will provide an avenue by which applicants can be conferred with citizenship over the coming months.

The Department of Justice said that ceremonies held online continue to include integrity measures, such as identity checks. Presiding Officer Bryan McMahon, a retired High Court Judge, oversaw today’s ceremony and administered the Oath of Fidelity to the Nation.

Since citizenship ceremonies were first introduced, there has been a total of 151 ceremonies with people from over 180 countries receiving their certificates of naturalisation. To date, including minors, approximately 132,000 people have received Irish citizenship, since 2011.

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Adam Daly

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