CO KILLARNEY, Ireland - Almost 2,000 people, including 260 British nationals, became new Irish citizens on Monday.
In two separate ceremonies at the INEC in Killarney, applicants from 103 different countries received their certificates of naturalisation, and took the oath of fidelity to Ireland. The UK was the second highest course of the intake, which comes ahead of Brexit.
The highest number to adopt Irish citizenship came from Poland, with 317 Poles making the move. There were 169 nationals from India, fifty from the United States, and 48 from China.
Speaking at the first ceremony, Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, welcomed Ireland's newest citizens, a milestone in their lives. He said:
"Becoming a citizen of one's country goes to the essence of our democracy and constitutional principles principles which I as a Minister of this Government have the honour to uphold.
Today, you will take an oath of fidelity to our nation and loyalty to our State. You will do so in the knowledge that this relatively young State still less than a century since our independence was gained - is a place of culture where traditions are cherished and history is ever-present. And be sure, too, that this State is a place of diversity and openness."
The Presiding Officer at both ceremonies was retired High Court Judge, Bryan McMahon, who administered the Declaration of Fidelity to the Irish Nation and Loyalty to the State.
The new citizens also undertook to faithfully observe the law of the State and respect its democratic values.
Addressing the new citizens at the second ceremony this afternoon, Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton said:
"You are now beginning a new journey and a new phase of your life as our newest Irish citizens. My earnest wish for each and every one of you here today as you embark on this new phase, is that it will be a journey full of hope and full of optimism with a bright new future as members of the great Irish global family."
This is the second year when large scale citizenship ceremonies have been held outside of Dublin.
The top 10 source of nationalities for the latest citizens were as follows:
- Poland - 317
- United Kingdom - 260
- Romania - 184
- India - 169
- Nigeria - 97
- Brazil - 74
- Latvia - 67
- Philippines - 51
- United States - 50
- China (including Hong Kong) - 48
Since the ceremonies were first introduced, there has been a total of 145 ceremonies (including Monday's ceremonies) with people from over 180 countries receiving their certificates of naturalisation.
To date, including minors, approximately 127,000 people have received Irish citizenship since 2011.
Details of future ceremonies and the process for applying for citizenship can be found here.