"Bosnian Community goes from strength to strength."O'Donnell
Minister O'Donnell was speaking at a reception which she hosted this evening in Iveagh House for 172 Bosnians who have recently received Irish citizenship. She said: "Irish citizenship is an important feature of successful integration into Irish society which gives a sense of security and a stake in your future."
"Many of you have endured trauma and physical injury before coming to Ireland as refugees. For most of you, it was war that cruelly interrupted life and happiness in your home country. The progress you have made shows how the human spirit can triumph over adversity, trauma and war."
Minister O'Donnell stressed the importance of the services and facilities provided by the Irish Government, including the difficulties facing the refugees when they arrived in Ireland, particularly the expert support of the Refugee Agency.
The Minister said: "I am delighted that the Government has granted £80,000 towards the purchase of the Bosnian Community Development Project building in Pearse Street, which acts as a community resource centre."
The Minister was also pleased at the recent Government decision to allow for the admission of a further 350 close relatives of Bosnians and 200 relatives of Vietnamese, already living in Ireland. Minister O'Donnell said that the Government would also admit ten "special case" families on an annual basis under a separate UNHCR programme for the resettlement of vulnerable persons.