The number of UK residents being refused Irish passports has surged from just one in 2016 to 15,000 rejections last year, as Brexit approaches.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney said in a parliamentary answer that 65,678 Irish passports were issued through the London embassy last year, some 15,074 less than the 80,752 applications from UK residents.
Worldwide, the number of applications for Irish passports received from outside the Republic jumped from 190,905 in 2016 to 227,223 last year, according to figures released to Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy.
A major rise in demand appears to be from UK residents in the wake of Brexit, rising from 99,944 in to 2015 to 163,026 last year. Similarly, applications from NI rose from 53,715 in 2015 to 82,274 last year. In contrast, applications from the Irish diaspora elsewhere has dropped slightly, the Irish Times reported.
People born to Irish parents or grandparents may apply for an Irish passport.
Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond said the Irish Embassy in London predicts that 2018 will be the busiest year so far for passport applications.
“At least 10 per cent of the UK’s population, not including Northern Ireland, are estimated to qualify for an Irish passport and in light of Brexit” many were “staking their claim” to the passport, he said.