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Article By Kathryn Johnston - Photography by BRUCE WANG


Last month we published a profile of Taryn de Vere ‘possibly the most colourful person in Ireland.’ In the profile she said, ‘I’ve applied for my Irish citizenship, and if I get that, it will mean that I can move back to Northern Ireland which has always been a thing for me. I love Derry, I think people there are a bit more open to my brand of weirdness than people in Donegal.’ Now, just a few weeks after Citizen Wang Studio published this, in a moving video on Twitter, Taryn reveals that she has now got her Irish citizenship. In the video she tells of her ‘joy’ at being granted Irish citizenship after appealing a decision to refuse it.   Video transcript: ‘I have the most exciting news – I’ve just got a letter to say that my citizenship application has been granted! And they are going to let me be an Irish citizen! And I’m so pleased and excited and overwhelmed and oh my god, they’re going to let me stay here and be one of you all. It’s amazing, I’m so emotional about this, it’s unreal.  Ireland has just become my home and Irish people have been so good to me.  And I thought they weren’t going to let me be a citizen! I thought I was too weird and too outspoken and I just don’t believe they actually said I can stay and I can be a citizen – and that means I can vote!  Oh my god I’m going to be able to vote! And no more non EU passport lines, that is going to be joyful too. But I just, it’s just, oh god – I have dreamed about this so many times.   I’ve been here nearly twenty years and I couldn’t afford to apply before – oh god it’s just really exciting. Thank you, thank you Ireland!’ Taryn goes on to say on Twitter in a series of tweets: ‘A huge thank you to (among others) Senator Lynn Ruane, Colm O’Gorman, Joe McHugh TD and others who supported me and to my 80 year old farmer pal who’s also a Peace Commissioner who signed so many documents for me. ‘And most of all a huge thank you to the WONDERFUL people of Ireland who without me knowing, started a fund to pay for my citizenship.  People I’ve never met helped pay for me to stay.  THANK YOU!  You kind, generous, warm people who make me feel appreciated & wanted.’ The great thing about getting my citizenship is that I can move to Northern Ireland – that’s the extra joy for me! Last month she told CWS: ‘When I go to Derry, I get strangers coming up to me and telling me they love my outfits and being really open and friendly with me, whereas in Donegal you get a little bit of that, but you also get a lot of suspicious and dark looks.’ So will she be moving to Derry?  Laughing, she told us, ‘I can’t see me moving until all my kids are out of school.’ Taryn de Vere is a working journalist, a trade unionist, a performance artist, an LGBTQ+ activist, a designer of jewellery, clothes and head dresses, a public speaker, and a mother of five children, with a strong social media presence - she has just under 50,000 followers on the five platforms she uses.   Taryn, who is originally from Bondi Junction in Australia where there is a large settled Irish population, moved to Belfast in 1998 just before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) which followed the historic ceasefires of the IRA and loyalist paramilitaries in 1994. At the start of January this year, de Vere decided to take the month off work.  Ireland was still under the covid lockdown and fears of rising omicron cases meant that she would be housebound.  So she challenged herself to dress as a different household object every day. ‘From the 1st of January this year, I did the #ObjectDressChallenge, which accidentally became a worldwide phenomenon – according to an Australian newspaper anyway.’ On Twitter, one person congratulating her said ‘this is what clinched it’.
She ended the interview by telling us how delighted she was at being granted Irish citizenship, saying that now ‘I am European, I can vote!  I can get my Irish passport! It’s quite an unusual situation because I am divorced from an Irish citizen and there is no provision for this.’ So Taryn may well have set a precedent by being granted Irish citizenship, which is great news for all the others around the world who identify as Irish. As is the case so often in our country, there are many racists, bigots and right wingers. One person tweeted their opposition to her citizenship.  Taryn tweeted straight back, ‘This comment under the @  piece about my citizenship has me in stitches.  Glad my naturalisation made a right-winger cross. But we have news for you Taryn:  I’ve known you for a long time, and I never thought of you as anything other than Irish and an inspirational living, walking, talking example of a bean álainn Éireannach (beautiful Irish woman’.