herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

2,000 new citizens delighted to say: 'I am Irish'

New citizens Marcelina Szafranska, from Poland Picture: Collins
New citizens Marcelina Szafranska, from Poland Picture: Collins

More than 2,000 new citizens are celebrating officially becoming Irish.

People from countries around the world were awarded their citizenship at a ceremony in Dublin's Convention Centre, which was attended by Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald.

The Tanaiste told the new citizens that being able to say "I'm Irish" is "amazingly welcome" across the globe.

"From today, you are part of a new family. You'll have an Irish passport - a small, sturdy, and significant document. Much more significant than it looks at first glance.

"It says something, when you produce it. Something small and quiet.

"It says 'I am Irish'. That small, quiet statement is amazingly welcome, all over the world. It is an even more prized possession in these very uncertain times," she said.

"I find it amazing that, amid all the turmoil of the recession years, the drama of the bailout and the Troika programme, thousands of people were taking huge strides in their lives here in this very building, all the while," she added.

The Tanaiste also acknowledged that Ireland has to make progress in improving the lives of all of its citizens.

Declaration

The new citizens all made a public declaration of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the state before receiving their documentation.

More than 95,000 people have been awarded citizenship since the ceremonies began five years ago.

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