Nearly twice as many people in the United Kingdom are applying for Irish passports this year, than before the British voted to leave the European Union.
To date this year 81,287 passport applications have been made from Britain, and another 80,964 from Northern Ireland alone. In total 162,251 individuals have applied for Irish passports from the UK, nearly double the 91,924 applications made in 2014.
Overall 752,296 new Irish passports have been issued up to the start of December this year, more than the 733,060 issued in 2016, and the 672,760 in 2015. Another 29,600 passports are currently being processed by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
In June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union, and since then the number of passport applications from people in Britain and Northern Ireland has dramatically increased. Following the triggering of “Article 50” this March, the UK is set to officially leave the EU by March 2019.
In Northern Ireland, 53,715 people applied for Irish passports the year prior to the Brexit vote, increasing to 67,582 in 2016, and 80,964 so far this year. In 2013 the department received 42,441 applications for Irish passports from Britain, which increased to 81,287 this year.
The data on passport applications was obtained following a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil TD Darragh O'Brien.
The department has spent €10,945 transporting postal passport applications from the London embassy to Dublin between January and August this year.
In April alone the department spent €1,872 sending passport applications from London to Dublin via diplomatic courier. The cost of transporting passport applications to Dublin was released under the Freedom of Information Act.
A spokeswoman for the department said the London embassy and the Passport Service are currently reviewing internal procedures to try and reduce the costs of transferring passport applications to Dublin, in light of the increase in applications following the Brexit vote.
Any person born in Northern Ireland can apply for an Irish passport, and anyone born in England, Scotland or Wales who has an Irish parent can also apply for citizenship and a passport. The Irish passport will give someone living in Britain free movement between Europe after Britain leaves the EU.
An online passport application service was launched in March this year, cutting down on processing times. The department spokeswoman said 11,000 online applications have been made from Britain between March and the end of August this year. The department’s current estimated processing time for normal first time passport applicants from Britain is a minimum of seven weeks.