Young Nigerian mother holds back tears as she touches tricolour after becoming Irish citizen
A YOUNG Nigerian mother fought back tears as she touched the tricolour and finally became a fully fledged Irish citizen.
Thousands of immigrants gathered in Dublin's Convention Centre to achieve the much desired citizenship.
Overall a carnival atmosphere abounded - and there were moments of high exuberance in the Centre.
But the good cheer was interspersed with moments of solemnity as each applicant swore loyalty to the Irish state.
During the emotion charged ceremony, over 2,700 immigrants from 120 countries, were all embraced into the family of Irish citizenhood.
They each took the oath of loyalty in front of Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charles Flanagan, and retired District Court Judge, Patrick McMahon, before receiving their naturalisation certificates.
But the sense of occasion was obvious, when they stood to attention before the Irish flag, as the Garda Band struck up 'Amhran na bhFiann.'
The strains of the national anthem proved to be a sombre moment - but when it was over enthusiastic applause echoed throughout the hall.
Clasping the hand of their young son, David Badejo's wife, Abbey, was among those to join the ranks of the new Irish.
"This special day is a dream come true for all the family," he told Independent.ie
"We've been living here for five years since leaving Nigeria. We married here in Ireland, and have three young children, who are all Irish citizens.
"They love it here. We live in Lucan, Co. Dublin, and are extremely happy. This country has a lot to offer and is great for raising a family. That's the most important thing."
Also proudly displaying his citizenship certificate was Goanti Gung, originally from Nepal, but happily residing in Galway for the past four years, with his wife and two children.
He said he was looking forward to being able to exercise his newfound democratic right to vote in referendums and receive an Irish passport.
Chi Wang, originally from Hong Kong, also expressed his delight at being "welcomed into the Irish family".
Another new citizen, who did not wish to be named, but adorned in colourful national dress, told how he had been waiting nine years for "this momentous occasion."
The new Irish citizens as well their friends and families clapped joyously, having achieved what was for many a major landmark, since arriving in Ireland.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charles Flanagan offered his good wishes from the podium.
"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."
"Today is a major event in your life which opens up many possibilities to you. Perhaps one day, you or a child or grandchild of yours, could stand here as Minister for Justice, or, indeed, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, or as Judge, or perhaps the President of Ireland.
"One way or another, all this future potential, derives from you becoming a citizen of our country today.
"As you leave here today, as proud new citizens of this Republic and constitutional democracy, our history is your history, and the narrative of your life is now part of our history," he added.