Brexit: more than 100,000 from North, Britain seek Irish passport

Nearly 100,000 people from the North and Britain sought Irish passports since January

Anyone born on the island of Ireland, or whose parents and grandparents were born here, is automatically entitled to be an Irish citizen qualifying for a passport

Anyone born on the island of Ireland, or whose parents and grandparents were born here, is automatically entitled to be an Irish citizen qualifying for a passport

 

The number of applications for an Irish passport from Northern Ireland and Britain has increased by half since January, fuelled by concerns about the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Figures released by the Department of Foreign Affairs show that nearly 100,000 people from Northern Ireland and Britain sought Irish passports this year.

Since January 1st , 45,307 people living in Britain with an Irish background have applied, compared with 27,671 for the first six months of 2016, a rise of 57 per cent.

The number of applications from Northern Ireland has jumped to 53,547 compared with 37,537 in the first six months last year, a rise of 49 per cent.

In all over 500,000 people applied for an Irish passport since January 1st, thought Department of Foreign Affairs estimates that the total will pass 1 million for the first time by year’s end.

Anyone born on the island of Ireland, or whose parents and grandparents were born here, is automatically entitled to be an Irish citizen qualifying for a passport.

Automatic citizenship

Ireland offers automatic citizenship to anyone whose mother or father is Irish, regardless of where they were born, while the grandchildren of citizens qualify if their births have been recorded in the Republic’s foreign births register.

The statistics show a spike in the month of March, with 19,522 applications arriving. Six million Britons can claim an Irish-born grandparent, according to oft-trumpeted figures.

Since the decision by Britain to leave the EU the number of applications for Irish passports has soared due to the eagerness of many British citizens to retain a European passport.

Some 500,000 people in Northern Ireland are thought to have an Irish passport, and under the 1998 Belfast Agreement anyone living there may hold both British and Irish passports.

Perspectives

Meanwhile, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney will meet with the British-Irish Chamber of Commerce in London on Thursday, along with other key groups.

Mr Coveney said: “It is valuable for those influencing policy in the UK to hear the perspectives from Ireland on the shared challenge we face when it comes to the Border and protecting the gains of the peace process.

“I will be clear during my visit to London that Ireland remains fully committed to our membership of the EU, and is equally intent on preserving our strong relationship with the UK.”