Former Portlaoise Mayor Rotimi Adebari, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and Timothy Adejumo.
Ireland's first black mayor revealed his elections after meeting Laois TD and Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan at the latest citizenship ceremonies in Killarney.
Former Portlaoise Mayor Rotimi Adebari, who is already a citizen, joined 2,400 new Irish citizens in Kerry including his friend Portlaoise man Timothy Adejumo.
The Minister for Justice Flanagan met with Rotimi and congratulated Timothy on being one of the new Irish passport holders to originate from over 90 countries.
Speaking afterwards to the Leinster Express Mr Adebari, who was an independent councillor, said it was 'unlikely' that he would contest the 2019 local elections.
The Nigerian native first ran for a council seat in Portlaoise in 2004 when he was elected to Portlaoise Town Council. He also contested the 2011 General Election. He became Portlaoise Mayor in 2007. He lost his seat on Laois County Council in 2014.
Addressing the new citizens, Minister Flanagan welcomed the new citizens.
“Today, you will take an oath of fidelity to our nation and loyalty to our State. You will do so in the knowledge that this relatively young State – still less than a century since our independence was gained – is a place of culture where traditions are cherished and history is ever-present. And be sure, too, that this State is a place of diversity and openness,” he said.
The Minister highlighted the Government’s Migrant Integration Strategy. He said it aims to ensure that barriers to full participation in Irish society are identified and addressed and that the basic values of Irish society are respected by all.
“The people of Ireland are committed to respecting all traditions on this island equally. Our Migrant Integration Strategy is about building a society where we all live in harmony while at the same time respecting our cultural or religious differences.
"We recognise that developing a greater understanding of our shared history, in all its diversity, is essential to developing greater understanding and building a shared future… at the heart of the European family of nations,” he said.
Citizenship ceremonies were first introduced in 2011 in order to mark the occasion of the granting of citizenship in a dignified and solemn manner. Today’s ceremonies bring the total number of ceremonies held since then to 141 where people from over 180 countries will have received their certificates of naturalisation.
Including minors, over 122,000 people will have received Irish citizenship since 2011 following the ceremonies.
The ceremonies continue to see significant numbers of those originating from the United Kingdom granted Irish citizenship. At today’s ceremonies, 309 people from the UK will receive their certificates of Irish citizenship.
Top ten nationalities for Citizenship Ceremonies in Killarney are as follows:
1 Poland 406
2 United Kingdom 309
3 Romania 218
4 India 186
5 Nigeria 99
6 Latvia 98
7 Philippines 86
8 Brazil 72
9 United States Of America 68
10 China (Including Hong Kong) 61