By Jonathan McCambridge, PA
Approximately 3,500 people will become Irish citizens following ceremonies in Killarney, Co Kerry, on Monday and Tuesday.
In four ceremonies at the Inec Arena, applicants from more than 130 countries will receive their certificates of naturalisation and take an oath of fidelity to the Irish State.
Among those becoming citizens will be 375 people from the UK, 326 from India, 282 from Pakistan, 170 from Poland and 159 from the Syrian Arab Republic.
The ceremonies will also include 158 people from Brazil, 154 from Nigeria, 150 from Romania, 102 from the US and 95 from the Philippines.
Ministers of State James Browne and Anne Rabbitte have welcomed Ireland’s newest citizens, and said the day would be a milestone in their lives.
Mr Browne said: “The conferring of citizenship opens new doors – to enjoy the fundamental rights as set out in the Irish Constitution, to vote in referenda that may change the constitution, to get and to travel with an Irish passport, to serve on a jury, to run for election to Government. These are life changing rights.
“In granting you your Irish citizenship, Ireland has made a wider symbolic commitment to you that resonates with our country’s history and with our people at home and abroad.”
The presiding officers at the ceremonies are retired High Court judge, Bryan McMahon and retired judge Paddy McMahon, who will administer the Declaration of Fidelity to the Irish Nation and Loyalty to the State.
Ms Rabbitte said: “Ireland is a place of great diversity and openness.
“We do not ask of you to relinquish or replace your own sense of identity associated with your homeland when you become an Irish citizen.
“We want you to bring your culture, history and traditions with you. By sharing them with us, Ireland is richer for it.”