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Council responsible for NI Citizenship Ceremonies
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Council responsible for NI Citizenship Ceremonies

February 2, 2016

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council has assumed responsibility for the administration of Citizenship Ceremonies in Northern Ireland. 

All Citizenship Ceremonies take place at Hillsborough Castle, which is cared for by charity Historic Royal Palaces. Persons who have applied for British Citizenship and who have been approved to receive it will be invited by the Council to attend a Citizenship Ceremony.

The decision to grant British Citizenship is determined by UK Visas and Immigration, which is part of the Home Office. Information on the application process is contained on its website www.gov.uk  Ceremonies will be held within three months of an application being approved.

Citizenship in Northern Ireland will be conferred by one of the Queen’s Lord Lieutenants.  This will include the administering of a citizenship oath or a pledge.

Up until now Citizenship Ceremonies in Northern Ireland have been administered by the Northern Ireland Office.  The Council will now assume this responsibility.

The Mayor, Councillor Thomas Beckett, said: “This is a new responsibility for Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council and we are delighted to be working with Historic Royal Palaces in the delivery of Citizenship Ceremonies.  We look forward to welcoming new British Citizens to the City of Lisburn and to the historic village of Hillsborough.”

Mrs Patricia Corbett, Head of Hillsborough Castle, said: Hillsborough Castle a long tradition of hosting important occasions and events. I am very glad that Hillsborough Castle will continue to host these ceremonies and Historic Royal Palaces will take great pleasure in congratulating the new Citizens.”

Alderman James Tinsley, the Chairman of the Council’s Corporate Services Committee, said: “The Council will look to its new responsibilities and we will carry out forthcoming Citizenship Ceremonies to the highest standards.  The beautiful surroundings at Hillsborough Castle will certainly add to the significance of the occasion for those people attending a Citizenship Ceremony.”

The Home Office was represented by Mr Nigel Hills, who attended the last-ever ceremony which was officiated by the Northern Ireland Office.  He said: “We are very grateful to the Northern Ireland Office for their efficient co-ordination of ceremonies to date.  We look forward to working with Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council; this is an excellent example of effective joint working.”

Heritage and conservation charity Historic Royal Palaces assumed responsibility for Hillsborough Castle in 2014 and is undertaking a major transformation of the site. The £16m project will improve the interiors and gardens, introduce new visitor facilities including a dedicated Clore Learning Centre, and open up areas of the castle which have previously been closed to the public. Enabling works are already underway and the project is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

Hillsborough Castle is open for guided tours every weekend in April, May, June and September including Bank Holidays and open daily from 20 March to 3 April and from 2 July to 4 September. Booking is essential (telephone 0844 482 7777). Group visits are available throughout the year (telephone 028 9268 1376). The gardens are open all year round.