UK applications for Irish passports in 2019 already exceed last year

New figures show 85,517 applications in first eight months of year amid Brexit fears

Applications for Irish passports have been steadily increasing since 2016. Photograph: Alan Betson

Applications for Irish passports have been steadily increasing since 2016. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The number of applications for Irish passports from Britain and Northern Ireland in the first eight months of the year has already exceeded the total received in 2018.

New figures released to Fianna Fáil’s Niall Collins show that there have been 85,517 applications to the end of August this year, compared to a total of 79,513 in 2018. The increase has been driven by a surge in applications from Northern Ireland, with almost 9,000 more applications received at the end of August.

Applications have been steadily increasing since 2016, when the UK voted to leave the European Union. In 2015, there were just under 26,000 applications, less than a third of the total received so far this year.

Mr Collins said the figures “are a clear indication that people across the UK and Northern Ireland have realised how serious the impact of Brexit will be.”

“The Irish passport has always been held in high esteem, and it’s becoming obvious that Brexit has compounded the demand as people living in the UK and Northern Ireland become increasingly worried about what impact Brexit will have on their daily lives and their ability to travel. I expect these figures will continue to increase over the next few months as uncertainty over a potential no-deal Brexit prevails,” he said.

Entitlement to an Irish passport is governed by Irish law, particularly the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956.