Irish Times – 27 August 2013
Some 1,816 men and 2,288 women are today becoming the Republic’s newest citizens.
The ‘new’ Irish are taking part in a series of ceremonies in the Convention Centre in Dublin overseen by the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and retired High Court judge Bryan McMahon.
Addressing the first group of more than 1,000 people who swore allegiance to the State this morning, Mr Shatter said they were the 73rd group to become “part of the national family” since citizenship ceremonies were introduced in June 2011.
Mr Shatter told the candidates, whom he noted were from every continent and 170 different countries, they were joining a state “which provides constitutional and general law protections against all types of discrimination”. He said it was a state where men and women were guaranteed equal treatment under law and where people’s sexual orientation and preferences are respected.
“Our history is your history and in turn the narrative of your life becomes part of our history” he said.
Administering the Declaration of Fidelity to the Irish Nation and Loyalty to the State, Mr McMahon, said there were “no second-class or half citizens” of the Republic and urged them and their families to take an active part in Irish citizenship, while remembering the traditions, music and arts of their former homes.
Mr Shatter, who initiated the citizenship ceremonies, said he was considering legislation to establish them on a permanent footing, to ensure they continue after his term in office.
He said good progress had been made in dealing with a backlog of more than 22,000 citizenship applications in March 2011, when waiting times for a decision were at least two years and sometimes considerably more. Waiting times were now generally down to about six months, he said, while the current intake of 20,000 applications per year is running at over twice the rate of new applications three or four years ago.
“It is truly remarkable that this tiny island at the edge of Western Europe facing into the Atlantic Ocean which is home to us all has, as its citizens, as members of the national family, people who came to live with us from every country on this planet” he said.
This article and a similar one not too long ago gives testimony to three cold hard facts. They are: a.) that every native born Irish person who finds living in the land of their birth so distasteful that they must emigrate are quickly being replaced by immigrants from every corner of the globe who are eager to fill the void left by their “forced departure”; b.) if these new “Irish” bring their “traditions, music, and arts from their native countries with them to Ireland as they are being urged to do in the article above, it will not be long before the traditions, music and arts of their adopted country become relegated to the memories of those native born Irish who chose to stay at home; 3.) the country that once proudly claimed to be the most Catholic country in Europe is very quickly becoming a very secular, or perhaps more accurately Muslim one, much the same as Britain did not so long ago. I, for one, find this globalization of the land of my heritage very disturbing.
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
Proud Citizen of the United States of America and Ireland