New Irish citizens will swear an oath of allegiance to the nation as Ireland copies the American system.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has announced key changes to Ireland’s citizenship application procedure.

In announcing the new measures, he confirmed that in the future those granted Irish citizenship will attend formal ceremonies and swear an oath of fidelity to the Irish nation.

The Irish Government has, however, decided not to introduce citizenship tests for foreign nationals in the short term.

Shatter believes the new application procedures will speed up the process and give proper recognition to the importance of becoming a citizen.

The Minister revealed he has ‘substantial concerns’ about the current procedures where applicants take an oath before a judge during normal District Court business, and then receive their certificate in the post.

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A pilot citizenship ceremony featuring the new Oath of Allegiance and involving 75 new Irish citizens will be held at Dublin Castle on June 24th.

The new Irish system will follow the US and British lead, whereby new citizens undertake an oath of allegiance to their new nation.

The move comes in the wake of a recent report from the Immigrant Council of Ireland, which stated that many migrants were ‘deflated’ by the current procedure and the lack of a swearing-in ceremony.

The Government is also looking to process a backlog of 22,000 applications for citizenship, some 17,000 of which are over six months old.

“I was astonished to discover that approximately 55 per cent of all citizenship applications received by the Immigration and Naturalization Service had to be returned to applicants due to their being incorrectly completed,” said Minister Shatter.

New Irish citizens will swear an oath of allegiance to the nation as Ireland copies the American system.