The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, TD, will host two very special citizenship ceremonies today to welcome 950 people as they become Irish citizens. The event will be the first in-person citizenship ceremonies since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020.
The ceremonies will take place at the INEC in Killarney, Co. Kerry. Retired High Court Judge, Mr Justice Bryan McMahon and Retired District Court Judge, Mr Paddy McMahon will preside over one ceremony each.
Speaking in advance of the event, Minister McEntee said,
“This will be the first time that I have had the privilege of attending a citizenship ceremony in person and I am truly honoured to welcome so many people who have chosen to make Ireland their home.
“While I am immensely proud of the online celebration events that my Department has held during the last two years, nothing beats the experience of meeting our newest citizens in person and seeing first-hand how much it means to them to have completed their citizenship journey.
“Becoming an Irish citizen is a moment to cherish, both for our new citizens themselves and also for their families and friends. By sharing their own unique cultures and traditions with us, our newest citizens become part of our communities and we are all the richer for it.”
The in-person citizenship ceremonies in Killarney follows a number of initiatives that were developed and implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic to welcome Ireland’s newest citizens. In July 2020, Ireland was the first European country to host an e-citizenship ceremony and this was followed by three online celebration events in 2021.
In January 2021, Minister McEntee introduced a temporary system that enabled applicants to complete their naturalisation process by signing a statutory declaration of loyalty. Over 15,000 applicants had the opportunity to receive their citizenship certificates through the temporary system.
The ceremonies will be live streamed from the Killarney Convention Centre at 10.45am and 1.45pm on the Department’s social media channels. People can use the hashtags #IrishCitizen2022 and #SaoránachÉireannach2022 to share their support for Ireland’s new citizens.
Planning for additional in-person ceremonies in December 2022 in Killarney is currently underway.
Notes for editors
- Some 1,300 applicants were invited to the in-person ceremony on 20 June and approximately 950 accepted.
- Since citizenship ceremonies were first introduced, there has been a total of 154 ceremonies with people from over 180 countries receiving their certificates of naturalisation.
- To date approximately 148,000 people have received Irish citizenship since 2011.
- In 2021, the Department made 11,512 citizenship decisions, which is the highest level since 2015.
- A number of steps have been taken to speed up the processing of applications and a number of digitisation measures have also been introduced to increase efficiency in the process, including eTax clearance, eVetting and online payments.
- The digitisation process will free up more staff to focus on processing applications in a timely and efficient manner, to improve service to customers and reduce waiting times.