“A privilege and an honour” is how UCC lecturer Amanullah De Sondy has described getting Irish citizenship after applying in 2020.
The Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Islam at University College Cork applied for citizenship in Ireland after living here for five years.
Mr De Sondy, who has a British passport from growing up in Scotland, has been living in Ireland since 2015 but was compelled to apply to become an Irish citizen following Brexit and also to fight back against people telling him he would never be Irish because of his heritage and the colour of his skin.
“It was a series of things, Brexit was one, I didn’t want to lose my Europeanness, and also it was a response to ongoing criticism...
"It left me thinking what do I need to do to be Irish?”
Mr De Sondy said going through the legal process of applying for Irish citizenship gave him a different sense of identity and belonging.
“It made me feel even more Irish.
"Irishness is not a piece of paper, but it gave me a sense of belonging.”
Mr De Sondy, whose parents are from Pakistan, said it was a bittersweet moment getting his Irish passport in the post that made him reflect on his privilege and his parents' sacrifice in making sure he and his siblings had every opportunity in life.