Demand jumps 50% since Brexit vote
More than 100,000 Irish passports issued in the UK in the year to June 2017, up from 65,000 in 2016
Demand for Irish passports in the UK has jumped by 50% since the Brexit vote, Ireland’s minister for foreign affairs and trade has revealed.
More than 100,000 Irish passports were issued in the UK in the first six months of 2017, up from 65,000 last year, according to figures released on Wednesday.
The rush for Irish passports to secure an EU identity after Britain leaves the bloc has brought about a 59% surge in applications in Northern Ireland and a 44% increase across Britain.
Urging people to apply online to ease the burden on the Irish passport service, Simon Coveney said that just over halfway through 2017 the passport service had already issued more than 500,000 passports. In a country that counts one of the smallest populations in Europe at 4.6 million, this has placed a huge burden on the passport offices.
In the four years to 2016, the service issued between 632,000 and 670,000 in an entire year.
The rush for Irish passports reflects the desire of those who have Irish ancestry to keep their options open after the UK leaves the EU.
Anyone who has an Irish parent or grandparent born in Ireland is entitled to a passport. In addition, Britain allows for dual citizenship, unlike other European countries.
Even in Northern Ireland, those who identify as British were being urged to get a second passport by a leading unionist MP, Ian Paisley Jr, immediately after the referendum.
“My advice is if you are entitled to second passport then take one. I sign off lots of applications for constituents,” he tweeted last June. “My advice is to take as many as you can especially if you travel to different world trouble zones.”
Demand at the Irish embassy in London peaked in March when there was a 94% increase in the number of applications, up from about 4,000 to more than 8,000 and has stayed at that level ever since.
In Northern Ireland, business was also brisk with 11,000 applications in March, 9,000 in April and 10,000 in May this year.