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New citizens express their delight at Ireland’s largest oath ceremony

Last update - Monday, July 15, 2013, 16:03 By Nicole Antoine

Some 4,400 immigrants swore an oath of fidelity to the State and received their Irish citizenship on 4 July 2013.

Some 4,400 immigrants swore an oath of fidelity to the State and received their Irish citizenship on 4 July 2013.

The inductions took place in four separate citizenship ceremonies at the Dublin Convention Centre, with 1,100 candidates from over 100 different countries sworn in at each.

The celebratory ceremony was introduced only two years ago by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter “to give proper recognition to the importance of the granting of Irish citizenship”.

Prior to the introduction of the new ceremony, taking the oath of citizenship was a practical affair conducted in a courtroom.

The final ceremony of the day on 4 July marked the 73rd ceremony to be held since their introduction – not to mention the largest number of candidates to be inducted in a single day.

Each ceremony was a short but solemn affair, introduced with music from the Garda Band and a military guard display along with several speakers, including a keynote from Minister Shatter, retired Justice Bryan McMahon and Judge Rosemary Horgan, president of the District Court, who served as presiding officers on the day.

One of those who received his citizenship on the day was Jairus Jose, who moved to Ireland from the Philippines six years ago. After a year of waiting for his application to be processed, he expressed a satisfaction that was along with the running theme of the day.

“It’s wonderful,” he said, “it means more opportunities for me. A better life.”


Happy friends and family


As Jose and other candidates took the collective citizenship oath, thousands of happy and expectant friends and family members observed from the upper levels of the auditorium.

Abdul Latif, an immigrant from Bangladesh and an Irish citizen since 2008, stood among the audience with his small daughter, waiting to watch his wife Farhana Haque take her oath and receive her  citizenship.

“The waiting was the worst,” said Jose, whose wife had waited five years for citizenship before the process was sped up two years ago. “We are very excited. [Spouses often] come here as dependents; they are qualified but can’t work. Her language is fine; she was a teacher at home, she is certified in child minding and English courses, but she couldn’t get a work permit. And now she is free to work.”

Nichodemus Ozoemena Ugwu, a doctor who emigrated from Nigeria in 2006, also received his citizenship.

“From today on, I’ve become an Irish citizen,” he said. “I can contribute – I hope to play my own part in helping to nurture the society and diversity.

“I only hope my family will get it soon as well,” he added.



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