Brexit prompts increase in queries about Irish passports

Passport Office Twitter account fields questions about how to get Irish documentation

 

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union has led to an increase in the numbers of people seeking information on Friday about getting Irish passports.

The Irish Passport Twitter account @PassportIRL has seen surge of inquiries about acquiring an Irish passport in the wake of the Brexit referendum result.

A Google Trends analysis also showed a spike of interest in Irish passports on the search engine from 4am on Friday.

In the lead up to the referendum, there has been a major rise in Irish passport applications from England, Scotland and Wales in the run-up to the Brexit referendum.

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A Google Trends graph shows searches for the term "Irish Passport" in the UK rose at about 4am with searches coming predominantly from Northern Ireland

There were 1,901 applications in the first five months of the year, an increase of 25 per cent compared to the same period in 2015, according to figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Passport Office has hired over 200 new staff on a temporary basis to take care of the demand.

According to an update on the Passport Office website, the average wait time for a first time passport applicant is 20 working days, or four weeks.

Figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs show the number of British-born people applying for Irish passports on the basis of having an Irish-born grandparent rose between 2014 and 2015.

The number of adults born in England, Wales or Scotland applying for their first Irish passport on this basis rose more than 379 to 507 in that period.

Ireland offers automatic citizenship to anyone whose mother or father is Irish, regardless of where they were born, while the grandchildren of citizens are also entitled to claim a passport once their births have been recorded in the Republic’s foreign births register.

Great-grandchildren may also be eligible if their parents had registered at the time of their birth. It has been estimated that as many as six million Britons can claim an Irish-born grandparent.

Northern Ireland is a special case, with anyone born north of the Border having the same rights to claim Irish citizenship as elsewhere on the island.