Irish passport tally to double

Irish passports can be used to claim Universal Credit said the Department for Communities
Irish passports can be used to claim Universal Credit said the Department for Communities

The number of Irish passports issued in Britain is set to almost double this year compared with the last full year before the EU referendum, Ireland’s ambassador to the UK has said.

Dan Mulhall pinned the surge in demand on the Brexit vote, with Ireland remaining inside the European Union.

Around 50,000 Irish passports are usually issued in Britain each year, Mr Mulhall has previously said.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m responsible, obviously, for our passport operation here in Britain, and for the five years up to last year the demand was pretty flat, and last year it rose by 40%.

“That rise was all in the second half of the year, so we have to attribute that to the impact of last year’s referendum.

“So far this year we’ve seen another increase and it looks as if we are going to be close enough to doubling the number of passports this year compared with 2015, which was the last pre-Brexit year.

“So there has been a significant rise, not just in Britain but also in Northern Ireland.”

Mr Mulhall said 500,000 Irish passports were issued to applicants around the world in the first half of 2017.

“That’s an extraordinary number of passports, well up on our previous numbers, which means that people around the world - many of them may be British people living in Europe, living elsewhere, with Irish connections - are looking for Irish passports ,” he added.

Mr Mulhall told Today that Ireland wanted the UK to remain in the EU customs union.