More than 62,000 Irish passports issued to NI residents in 2018

Yearly demand remains ‘significantly higher’ than years prior to Brexit vote, says Coveney

An individual born abroad is automatically an Irish citizen if one of their parents was an Irish citizen born in Ireland. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

An individual born abroad is automatically an Irish citizen if one of their parents was an Irish citizen born in Ireland. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

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More than 62,000 people resident in Northern Ireland have been issued with Irish passports so far this year, continuing the upward trend in applications triggered by the Brexit vote result.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney confirmed that 62,624 Irish citizens living in the North had been issued with passports in 2018. He was responding last week to a parliamentary question from Louth Fianna Fáil TD Declan Breathnach.

Mr Coveney said that while the volume of applications received so far this year showed a slight decrease on last year’s numbers, the overall annual volumes of applications received, and passports issued since the UK referendum on EU membership in June 2016, remained “significantly higher than preceding years”.

A total of 75,951 Irish passports were issued to Northern Ireland residents last year, compared to 65,716 in 2016 and 52,861 in 2015, the year before the Brexit vote.

Mr Coveney said the Passport Service monitored the overall volume of applications on an ongoing basis to ensure resources were available to meet demand. It had also taken steps to “proactively project future demand patters with a particular focus on the potential contribution applications from Northern Ireland and Great Britain may make to overall demand”.

The figures supplied to Mr Breathnach also show that 14,579 Irish passports have been issued so far this year to Irish residents living in the USA at the time of their application. This includes 8,900 people entitled to “citizenship by descent”.

An individual born abroad is automatically an Irish citizen if one of their parents was an Irish citizen born in Ireland. A person may also claim citizenship through a grandparent born in Ireland or through a parent who was not born in Ireland but who was an Irish citizen at the time of the individual’s birth.

A total of 19,358 people living in the US were issued with an Irish passport in 2017, some 11,727 of them claiming citizenship by descent. In 2016, 16,148 people living in the US at the time of their application were granted Irish passports.

There have been 21,989 Irish passports issued so far this year to people aged under 18 and residing abroad at the time of their application. The figure includes 16,401 people who have citizenship by descent. In 2017, the total number of passports issued to people under 18 and living abroad was 27,944.

There have also been 90,531 Irish passports issued so far in 2018 to people aged over 18 and living overseas at the time of their application. Last year, more than 110,000 passports were issued to people aged over 18 and living abroad. The figure was by far the highest in a decade.

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