Fitzgerald ‘concerned’ about rise in visa applications from UK

10,000 seeking to become EU citizens via Ireland last year, compared with 1,800 in 2014

 Tanaiste  Frances Fitzgerald: her spokesman  said she was concerned about potential abuse of the system and sought to inform Cabinet ahead of any potential action being taken. Photograph:  Cyril Byrne

Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald: her spokesman said she was concerned about potential abuse of the system and sought to inform Cabinet ahead of any potential action being taken. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

The Tánaiste has said she is “highly concerned” about a rise in visa applications originating from the United Kingdom under a European Union directive.

Frances Fitzgerald addressed her Cabinet colleagues on Tuesday about an increase in qualified family members of EU nationals seeking to become EU citizens through Ireland.

It is understood 10,000 applications originated from the UK last year and 5,000 in the first half of this year, compared to 1,800 in 2014.

A spokesman for Ms Fitzgerald said she was concerned about potential abuse of the system and sought to inform Cabinet ahead of any potential action being taken.

The rise is said to be linked to people anticipating Brexit among other factors. Speaking in the Dáil recently about the issue Ms Fitzgerald said the visa applications are based on qualifying family members.

“I am further advised that there has been an exponential increase in such applications since the second quarter of 2015.”

She is said to have raised this trend on a number of occasions in discussions with the UK home office and with the former UK immigration minister, James Brokenshire last month.