Prime Minister Enda Kenny has welcomed his country’s newest citizens and told them to cherish the day they officially became Irish.
The government leader broke away from the financial crisis to officially launch the new initiation ceremony for citizens at Dublin’s Cathal Brugha barracks.
A total of 2,000 new Irish nationals received their official documentation – and a tricolour lapel badge – at the ceremonies.
The new procedure was inaugurated by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to add some pomp and ceremony to the occasion.
Previously those granted citizenship received their paperwork in a drab court house.
“This is a rare day and one you will remember and you will cherish,” Prime Minister Kenny told the new Irish citizens.
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Each immigrant swore a declaration to Irish then, collectively, they turned to face the flag as their new national anthem filled the air.
Retired judge Bryan McMahon presided over the ceremony and praised Justice Minister Shatter for overseeing the new procedures.
“I congratulate Minister Shatter for endowing this ceremony with a sense of pomp and a sense of occasion,” said McMahon.
He then urged the new Irish citizens to: “Bring with you your stories, your music, your dancers – the dances of your own native land. Enrich our lives with what you have to offer.
“I hope that, in the future, one of your children or grandchildren would be leading out a team on All-Ireland final day.”
Babies were then thrust into the arms of Prime Minister Kenny for photographs with the new Irishmen and women.
“It was a moving, meaningful and very touching ceremony,” concluded Kenny.