IT is never too late to start a new life and courageous grandmother Kallada Abdul did just that when she officially became an Irishwoman at the impressive age of 83.
Originally from Iraq, she came here to join her son, Dr Mudafar Altawash, about six years ago, when alone and afraid of the ongoing war, life became far too difficult for her.
Yesterday, the tiny and soft-spoken elderly woman took her oath of allegiance to Ireland as one of the 3,500 former immigrants who became new citizens of this country.
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice said it was impossible to know whether she was the oldest person to ever become a new citizen but that she was certainly "one of the oldest".
Dr Mudafar, who received his own citizenship many years ago, having lived in Dublin for over 32 years, is a doctor of Agriculture at UCD.
He said his mother – who speaks no English – was very much enjoying her new life here and loves being with him, her only son, his wife and her granddaughter. She has her own place in Clonskeagh, Dublin, which is close to the family.
"It means so much to her to become a citizen now. This is a peaceful country and she would like to stay here," he said.
The Citizenship Ceremonies, which took place at the National Convention Centre in Dublin yesterday, were also a joyous occasion for Pakistani family Sohail Ahabd and Sumreen Ahmed, who have been living in Dublin for 15 years. Sohail came here as a student in 1997 and is now working for a small company as a financial controller.
"I've been waiting for almost seven years for this," he said, adding that he was very happy for his wife and himself to join their three boys – who were born here – as Irish citizens.
Meanwhile, Roseline Aikorrogie, from Dooradoyle in Limerick, came here from Nigeria 10 years ago and was lucky enough to receive her citizenship, having applied only last February.
"I'm here a long time – it is home," she said.