Wednesday 18 October 2017

New Irish eyes are smiling as 4,000 become citizens

Oluwatoyin Ogundare and sons Tobi (10) and Sean, left, (6) were at yesterday’s citizenship ceremony.
Oluwatoyin Ogundare and sons Tobi (10) and Sean, left, (6) were at yesterday’s citizenship ceremony.
The citizenship ceremonies which were held at the Convention Centre in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Claire McCormack

SHEPHERD'S pie, open minds and the ability to play music from spoons – these are some of the reasons Ireland's newest citizens say they are proud to be Irish.

Sporting colours and stripes, hijabs and burkas, afros and braids, almost 4,000 people from 123 countries have pledged loyalty. "I'm delighted, I'm so happy, the country has done so much for us and I look forward to being a good citizen and contributing to the economy of Ireland," said Oluwatoyin Ogundare, originally from Nigeria.

Ms Ogundare and her husband Okikiolu fled their country because of the economic situation and the "endless fighting".

She said she felt unsafe and was drawn to Ireland because of the country's missionary work in Nigeria.

"The Irish people were some of the first to come to Nigeria and helped bring Christianity to the place and they were very welcoming and very nice and I am a woman of great faith," she said.

"I feel at home here and I feel safe and now my citizenship gives me more opportunities to get a job."

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and former High Court Judge Bryan McMahon presided over the ceremonies at the Convention Centre in Dublin yesterday.

Ms Fitzgerald told the new citizens that they will have the same rights, duties and responsibilities as every other Irish citizen.

"We ask you, as we ask all our citizens, to participate in our communities, to be good citizens, and to uphold the law," she added.

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