Demand for Irish passports in the UK has jumped by 50% since the Brexit vote, Ireland’s minister for foreign affairs and trade has revealed. More than 100,000 Irish passports were issued in the UK in the first six months of 2017, up from 65,000 last year, according to figures released on Wednesday.
The rush for Irish passports to secure an EU identity after Britain leaves the bloc has brought about a 59% surge in applications in Northern Ireland and a 44% increase across Britain. Urging people to apply online to ease the burden on the Irish passport service, Simon Coveney said that just over halfway through 2017 the passport service had already issued more than 500,000 passports. In a country that counts one of the smallest populations in Europe at 4.6 million, this has placed a huge burden on the passport offices.
“I would ask that anyone applying for a passport would first be sure to visit our website, dfa.ie/passport, to find out which service and turnaround time suits them best,” said Coveney. The rush for Irish passports reflects the desire of those who have Irish ancestry to keep their options open after the UK leaves the EU. Anyone who has an Irish parent or grandparent born in Ireland is entitled to a passport. In addition, Britain allows for dual citizenship, unlike other European countries.
Even in Northern Ireland, those who identify as British were being urged to get a second passport by a leading unionist MP, Ian Paisley Jr, immediately after the referendum.
“My advice is if you are entitled to second passport then take one. I sign off lots of applications for constituents,” he tweeted last June. “My advice is to take as many as you can especially if you travel to different world trouble zones.”