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Speech by the Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny, T.D., at the Citizenship Ceremony in Cathal Brugha Barracks

 Thursday 2nd February 2012

 Ladies and Gentlemen, my soon-to-be fellow citizens, 

 You are very welcome here today to Cathal Brugha Barracks for what is a special day in your lives.

The granting, to you, of Irish citizenship.

This day is as we say in Irish a

lá d’ár saol.

One of the days of our life that make our life

Rare days we will cherish  never forget. 

Your becoming citizens of our Republic is a solemn event.

It is right that it be solemn: because citizenship of the Irish Republic is not awarded lightly. 

For thousands of years, we have been a people of migration, inward and outward.

In the sixth century our monks ‘colonised the minds of Europe’, rescuing the continent from the Dark Ages.

For millennia, Picts, Celts, Norse, Normans, English have made Ireland their home.

For its part the Irish Diaspora is 70 million strong across the globe.

Descendants of Irish people who left Ireland and helped build the history, the story of another country.     

As a people, the Irish know what it’s like to be far from home, to leave everything we have known and make a new life in a new world.

Which is why, today, we welcome you and your families so warmly.

As citizens of this country, you are coming ‘home’.     

Today you begin to write your own chapters of Ireland’s history.

Your story will become Ireland’s story.

Since you arrived on these shores, you have enriched your communities, enhanced your workplaces, bringing new light, new depth, a new sense of imagining, to what it means to be a citizen of Ireland in the 21



This is the day we recognise your commitment.

This is the day we welcome you with all your hopes, your dreams all the devices of fate or fortune that brought you to us.

This is the day we honour you by making you a citizen of our Republic.  

I can think of no better person to preside over this great event than Bryan McMahon.

Bryan, a retired Justice of the High Court a man of the Arts and Letters....  represents Ireland at one of the highest, truest versions of itself.   

Thank you Bryan for agreeing to do so.

For their part, Acting General Officer Commanding John Joe O’Reilly Commandant Adrian Jacobs and the Cathal Brugha Garrison have made this day possible in their endless attention to detail. Thank you.

Many of you about to be conferred with citizenship were waiting an inordinately long time for your applications to be processed.

Last March, when this Government came to Office, there was a backlog of around 22,000 applications awaiting decision.

17,000 of these had been waiting for six months or more.

In fact, the average time was 25 months.

This was unacceptable and completely out of step with other countries that people wishing to become Irish citizens should be required to wait so long.

On taking up Office, Justice Minister Alan Shatter, immediately instructed his Department to initiate steps to deal with this huge backlog, targeting especially, those applications waiting over six months.

Progress is steady. Last year we dealt with over 16,000 applications.

More than double the figure for 2010.   

It is expected that the current backlog will be cleared shortly. From then, our objective is that applications, excluding exceptional circumstances, will be decided on within six months.    

This week, over the course of two days, 2,250 candidates for citizenship from 110 countries across 5 Continents will have their applications granted here in Cathal Brugha Barracks.  

Our ceremony today is a very public and potent manifestation of our independence as a nation.

This day 2 February, 1882, James Joyce was born.

This day in 1922,


was published.

Joyce wrote

I am tomorrow or some future day what I establish today.

Your tomorrow your future as Irish citizens is indeed established today.

In that future, I congratulate each of you and wish you... every health, happiness and fulfilment.

Welcome to your Irish family.

I now invite Justice Bryan Mc Mahon to administer the declaration of Fidelity, in which our new citizens publicly declare loyalty to our Nation and Fidelity to our State, as well as an undertaking to faithfully observe the laws of the State and respect its democratic values.



Government Press Office,,Ph 01 6194098