No end in surge for Irish passports after Brexit vote

The surge in applications for Irish passports continues this month after the immediate rush following the EU referendum vote.

Cork, Ireland. Irish passport application surge continues
The unprecedented number of applications for Irish Republic passports since the Brexit vote in the UK is showing no signs of abating, Minister of Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has revealed. The fear that the referendum result would leave citizens in Britain without free movement within the EU, led to an immediate rush of passport applications with diplomatic staff in Dublin being forced to appeal for calm after Post Offices in the UK ran out of Irish passport application forms.

Passport applications from Great Britain

That initial reaction, however, has turned into an unrelenting flow of citizenship and passport applications from both Britain and Northern Ireland.Figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin, showed there were 7,518 applications from the UK in September, compared to 3,431 in September 2015. In August, the figure was 6,710, compared to 3,286 a year earlier.Mr Flanagan said he now expects the demand for Irish passports to continue well into next year and that the nation's passport service was forecasting it would process an additional 100,000 applications from home and abroad in 2016 alone."Passport applications from Great Britain for the period January to September this year are up 40 per cent compared to the previous year, surging from July onwards; with demand in August 2016 being almost 120 per cent higher than the same month last year," he said.“The referendum in Britain has in no way changed the entitlement to an Irish passport as it extends to people born on the island of Ireland and those who may be entitled to Irish citizenship through parents or grandparents who were born in Ireland."

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In all, more than 37,000 people in the UK and Northern Ireland applied for Irish passports in the three months after the June 23 referendum – 83 per cent more than in the same period last year.Additionally, the Irish embassy in London received more than 2,800 applications for citizenship in those three months from people on the Foreign Births Register, which records individuals with Irish ancestry. In the first quarter of this year, there were only 235 applications. The number of citizenship applications from the estimated 117,000 UK nationals resident in the Republic has also leapt up.

ONS figures

According to Office for National Statistics, there were 332,000 Irish-born individuals living in the UK in 2015. However, the number of people who could be eligible for Irish citizenship in the UK is estimated to be much greater. In July, the Irish Passport Service said that an “initial and conservative estimate puts the number of people in GB and NI eligible for Irish citizenship and a passport at 2.1 million”, excluding those who already have citizenship.The Guardian reported on Friday, "Such is the surge in interest that a member of Ireland’s parliament is now calling on the Dublin government to halve the cost of applying for citizenship to encourage more Britons to take Irish nationality. It costs almost €1,000 to become an Irish citizen, which is two times higher than the EU average."

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