Some 3,000 people from around the world were made Irish citizens today, with one man describing it as “the first day of the rest of my life”.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee welcomed 3,000 new citizens in three separate ceremonies at the Convention Centre in Dublin.
New Irish citizens come from all over the world, including 421 from India, 169 from Poland and 254 from the UK – including Newstalk Reporter Henry McKean.
“It was wonderful,” he told The Hard Shoulder. “It was just beautiful. I met people from all over the world on their way to the citizenship ceremony.”
Cameroon-born Shubert told Henry he is now “Irish and all-in and really grateful to be a part of this great nation”.
“I'm hoping and knowing that I'm going to excel in the rest of my life because this is the first day of the rest of my life.”
Terina, a Filipino woman, was emotional ahead of the ceremony she has been waiting five years for.
“I have a mixture of emotions,” she said. “It’s really overwhelming.
“My husband is Irish, my son is Irish, and I've lived there for five years, experienced everything Irish, welcomed by the Irish community.
“I will always be a Filipino by blood, but my heart now belongs to Ireland.”
— Henry McKean (@HenryMcKean) October 2, 2023
Ms McEntee said attending the citizenship ceremonies is “one of the nicest things that I get to do as Minister for Justice”.
“To essentially be here to congratulate people on becoming an Irish citizen, and it's always a day that's full of laughter and joy and people are so proud,” she said.
“When I get to stand on the stage, and look out at everybody smiling out at me, you can just see faces from all over the world and their family and friends.”
'Fidelity to the Irish nation'
The ceremony includes each new citizen announcing their name and address before they “solemnly declare [their] fidelity to the Irish nation and [their] loyalty to the State”.
“We all had to do that,” Henry said. “All 1,000 of us in front of the judge, and it really was just so moving, and so beautiful and brilliant.”
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