A NEW petition is calling for immigrants in Ireland working in healthcare to have their application for citizenship fast-tracked.
The petition was launched by Mohsin Kamal, a Paediatric Nephrology Registrar at CUH Temple Street, and currently stands at over 2,000 signatures.
Titled 'Healthcare Heroes Belong Here', the Change.org petition is addressed to President Michael D Higgins and Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, and calls on the government "to recognise our sacrifice and commitment, and give us the certainty we need to progress with our lives and careers here in Ireland".
"Immigrant healthcare workers have been the backbone of the Irish health system for years, but especially since the COVID-19 pandemic hit," the petition reads.
"Far from home and loved ones, we risk our lives and our families’ lives daily. Many of us have fallen ill, some of us have made the ultimate sacrifice for our adopted home since last March. None of us have seen our extended families since this crisis hit our shores."
Comparing Ireland's years-long backlog of citizenship applications with countries such as France which has fast-tracked citizenship for immigrant healthcare workers, the petition calls for immigrants' efforts sacrifices for Ireland to be recognised.
The petition reads: "We have given ourselves and our careers to this country – caring for your loved ones day in, day out, being there for you at some of your darkest hours, even throughout a deadly pandemic.
"We uprooted our young families to bring them to Ireland, have paid our taxes, abided by your laws, some of us even learnt Cúpla Focal.
"Follow the lead of other European countries and fast-track citizenship for ALL of our healthcare heroes: from cleaners and porters to consultants and surgeons."
Some of the over 2,200 signatories of the petition outlined their reasons for supporting the cause, with one person, Pat McDonald, writing "My life was saved by an Irish and Syrian cardiology team, and I was in the care of Irish and Nigerian nurses.
"This is the least we can do for our frontline healthcare teams."
"All these workers and their families are putting their lives on the line for us," Margaret O'Regan wrote, while Tafadzwa Chikura said "I am a radiographer and have been working in the covid dedicated ward...
"I love this nation and would want to stay here."
You can find the petition here.