Fast-Track Citizenship for Frontline Workers this St. Patrick's Day

16 March 2021

Ivana Bacik

Marking St Patrick’s Day, Labour spokesperson on Children, Disability, Equality and Integration, Senator Ivana Bacik has urged Government to extend a ‘céad míle fáilte’ and fast-track Irish citizenship for the many non-national frontline workers who have been the backbone of our health system throughout the past year. During the pandemic, non-EU doctors, nurses, cleaners, healthcare assistants and porters propped up our health service, embracing the Irish spirit of meitheal.

Senator Bacik said:

“St Patrick’s Day is one of the most important days in Ireland’s calendar where we have the opportunity to tell our national story of welcoming immigrants – indeed, St. Patrick himself was an immigrant. Rather than painting the town green this year, Labour are calling on the Government to speed up the citizenship process for the many non-Nationals who are serving Ireland on the frontline. 

“The urgency here is clear – frontline workers stoically risked their lives and the lives of their families, keeping our health system going during the biggest health crisis in our history. Non-EU workers make up a huge proportion of this system, and they need to be treated fairly. There are reports that due to their lack of Irish citizenship, these essential workers are not being consider for career progression opportunities despite the sacrifices they have made for us. 

“Speeding up the process is possible, other countries have shown us this. In recognition of the immense personal sacrifices made by so many who have put themselves at risk to provide vital health and social care services throughout this pandemic, France and Canada have amended processes to fast track citizenship. Ireland must do the same. 

“As we face a second St. Patrick’s Day in lockdown, 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.”