Almost 2,000 people have been conferred with Irish citizenship at ceremonies in Co Kerry.

The new citizens are originally from 103 different countries although over a quarter are natives of Poland and the United Kingdom.

The ceremonies were presided over by retired High Court judge Bryan McMahon and took place at the Gleneagle INEC in Killarney.

They bring the total of such events up to 145, since the concept was introduced by former Minister for Justice Alan Shatter in 2011.

In the intervening years, about 127,000 people have sworn fidelity to the Irish State and received certificates of naturalisation.

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The ceremonies were also attended by the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, and Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton.

Mr Flanagan told the first group of new citizens that Ireland is a place of diversity and openness.

"Becoming a citizen of one's country goes to the essence of our democracy and constitutional principles – principles which I as a Minister of this Government have the honour to uphold," he said.

Judge McMahon told the candidates that, as Irish citizens, they will not only be expected to uphold the laws and democratic values of this country, but also to contribute to the community.

"You can contribute in many ways and any contribution you make will enrich us all," he said. "It will help to make our country a better place for us all and for our children, into the future."

Becoming Irish citizens did not mean the applicants had to forget about their countries of origin, he said, and it is important that they retain their memories and unique experiences and pass them on to their children and grandchildren.

Minister of State Stanton said the ceremony is "a major event in your life" for the candidates.

"Ultimately it’s about building a society where we all live in harmony while, at the same time, respecting our cultural and religious differences… The possibilities open to you in Ireland today are almost limitless. You are now beginning a new journey and a new phase in your life by becoming Irish citizens."

At the end of the ceremonies, the new citizens were given information on applying for Irish passports, as well as information on employment and available jobs in the public sector.

The next citizenship ceremonies are expected to take place early in 2020.