Almost 4,000 immigrants were granted Irish citizenship on Wednesday, in a number of ceremonies across Dublin.
The first Citizenship Ceremony ever held in Ireland took place in June 2011, since then approximately 14,000 individuals from 161 countries have been granted citizenship at 55 ceremonies.
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter spoke about the significance of the day for so many people, as 3,400 people were sworn in as Irish citizens.
"For those of you granted citizenship your future is now interwoven with the future of this State, its citizens across the globe and in particular, all of us who live on this island."
The Minister said Ireland was enriched by the presence of new citizens: “You have come to our country and have chosen to live among us. Some of you have been waiting a considerable time for this day to arrive.
“Today, we welcome you to our nation as its newest citizens, and we hope that you will continue to contribute to our communities, to our neighbourhood and to our society," he said.
Among the new citizens was Maria Elizabeth Mallo (50), a Filipino native, who has been living in Roscommon for 10 years.
"I am very excited today because I have been here for so long working hard to get my citizenship," she told the Irish Times.
"I love Ireland, although being from a tropical country I don't think I will ever be used to the weather," she added.
Originally from Lagos in Nigeria, Paul Ewetuga (42) has been waiting 10 years to get citizenship.
"It is good for me today because it will make some major changes to my life such as access to good healthcare and education," he told The Irish Times. "When I was not a citizen here my life was much harder."
Last September, Dhan Maya Adhikari (39) attended her husband's citizenship ceremony. She moved to Ireland from Pokhara in Nepal over six years ago.
"I am living over six years in Ireland,. and it is very nice to become a citizen now like my husband. I like very much the people here, and we are very happy," she said.
The history behind “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”