FOLLOWING news this week that France has granted citizenship to 12,000 non-National front-line workers, Labour Spokesperson on Children, Disability, Equality and Integration Ivana Bacik TD has reiterated her call on the Irish Government to follow suit.
Deputy Bacik said:
“I commend the French Government on this initiative to fast-track citizenship for the non-National workers who have put themselves at risk of contracting Covid-19 throughout the pandemic of the last 18 months. Here in Ireland, many workers who are not Irish citizens have formed the backbone of our public health response to Covid-19, doing amazing work to serve so many persons affected by the virus. The Minister for Justice must look to expedite the process of obtaining citizenship for these workers.
“Every week, I receive correspondence in my office from applicants for Irish citizenship who are waiting up to three years for their applications to be processed, many of whom are front-line workers. They tell me of the immense stress this uncertainty causes them, in addition to the anxieties of working through the pandemic. Many of these workers have been unable to care for family overseas through illness and bereavement because they have been providing care to people here in the Ireland.
“These workers have gone above and beyond the call of duty for Ireland over the past year, and speeding up their applications for citizenship is one tangible way that the State can thank these people for their sacrifices. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the individuals and families in our own communities who have worked under enormous pressure to keep everyone safe.
“The Labour Party is calling on the Government to back up our appreciation with action. Let’s fast-track citizenship applications now.”