Irish embassy experiencing 'busiest year yet' as applications for passports surge

Demand for Irish passports at the country's embassy in the UK has surged as the clock ticks down to Brexit. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Demand for Irish passports at the country's embassy in the UK has surged as the clock ticks down to Brexit. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

PA Archive/PA Images

Figures released to Fine Gael's Neale Richmond, chairman of the Brexit committee in the Irish senate, showed there were almost 45,000 applications in the first half of 2018.

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This means almost as many Irish passport applications were received in the first half of 2018 as in the whole of 2015, the year before the European Union referendum.

Richmond suggested that the “looming disaster of Brexit” was prompting eligible Britons to reconnect with their Irish heritage.

He said: “Since the people of the UK voted, narrowly, to leave the EU in 2016, we have seen a continuing rise in the number of applications for Irish passports in the UK.

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“Current rules entitle those born to Irish parents or grandparents to apply for an Irish passport through a claim to citizenship.

“At least 10% of the UK’s population, not including Northern Ireland, are estimated to qualify for an Irish passport and in light of Brexit, many including a number of my own family members are staking their claim to an Irish passport.

“Figures released to me by the Irish Embassy in London have shown that there is no sign of this rush for Irish passports abating.”

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The figures show there were 46,229 applications in 2015, 63,453 in 2016 and a “whopping” 80,752 in 2017, he said.

“Figures for the first half of 2018 show the number of applications received by the embassy in London is already at 44,962.

“Embassy officials predict that based on this, 2018 will be the busiest year so far for Irish passport applications in the UK.

“While many in the UK are concerned with the looming disaster of Brexit, we must seize the positives from this new wave of people reconnecting with their Irish heritage, our post-Brexit UK-Irish relations can be built on a strong, connected, diaspora.”

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Earlier this month a Brexiteer wrongly suggested that everyone in England is entitled to an Irish passport.

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