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New citizens 'proud to be Irish' at 100th ceremony

THEY both left their home country in search of a better life - and fate brought them together once they'd found it in Dublin.

Polish Piotr Izewski (37) was among more than 2,000 people granted Irish citizenship at the 100th and 101st ceremonies at the Convention Centre Dublin yesterday.

The Clontarf resident revealed that he met his wife, fellow Poland native Veronika (32), after both of them had travelled to Ireland to look for work.

He said: "We're from different parts of Poland, but we met here in Dublin four years ago. We had both gotten good job offers and decided to stay here."

Mr Izewski's ceremony took place months after his wife was granted citizenship.

"Six months ago, Veronika was in my place, and now I'm here. I've been living in Ireland for seven years, and this is one of the best days of my life. I am very proud to be an Irish citizen," he said.

Fellow adoptive Dubliner, doctor Sami Suleiman (40), said he came here for training six years ago but is now considering staying long-term.

The 40-year-old father-of-three from Sudan said: "It's something new for me, it feels like starting a new life.

Training

"I came here looking for better training, but my plan has changed now. I've been working here for six years," said the Blanchardstown resident.

Some 59,000 people have been granted Irish citizenship since the introduction of ceremonies in June 2011.

The waiting period for would-be citizens has since dropped, with 70pc of applicants receiving a decision within six months.

The citizens are now free to apply for Irish passports, which Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald described as a "highly prized possession".

hnews@herald.ie


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