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Irish citizenship procedures intensified; 6,500 people will be able to complete the process by end of June

DUBLIN: Of the 1,200 people who have been granted citizenship in the past three months, many are frontline health workers. They have received Irish citizenship since January 18th, under a new temporary statutory declaration process. The new law also replaces the need for applicants to attend citizenship ceremonies. The normal citizenship ceremonies have been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the new system, applicants can complete the naturalisation process by signing a statutory declaration of loyalty.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said that about 1,200 people had been granted Irish citizenship within 10 weeks of the start of temporary statutory declaration process. “I understand that this includes a significant number of frontline workers who have made such vital contributions during the pandemic,” Ms. McEntee said.

The Department of Justice is in the process of processing a total of 24,000 applications by the end of June. These applications were received within a period of 24 months till December 30. The department is also trying to communicate with all applicants. A further 1,159 people who submitted legal declarations will receive naturalisation certificates in the coming weeks.

“We achieved our target of communicating with 4,000 people by the end of March and are now extending the statutory declaration process to a further 2,500 people. By the end of June, 6,500 people will have been given the opportunity to complete their Irish citizenship,” Minister McEntee said.

There is an online celebration event at the end of April with the participation of people who received the naturalization certificate this year. The department has invited everyone to this event. “I look forward to seeing you there and congratulating you in person,” McEntee said.

The minister also stated that since this week, the manual Garda Vetting stage of the naturalisation process has been made available online. “Applicants will now complete the vetting process online, submitting the result directly to the citizenship team to enable the timely processing of their application,” she said.

In March, the Department of Justice said that citizenship applications from health care workers could not be processed on a priority basis due to limitations in the current system.

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