UK dwellers get one in five Irish passports

There has been a surge in the number of people from Britain applying for Irish passports in the wake of the Brexit referendum.
There has been a surge in the number of people from Britain applying for Irish passports in the wake of the Brexit referendum.

More than a fifth of all Irish passports issued in the last year went to UK residents – in a surge which has been directly linked to Brexit.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin said the 779,000 Irish passports issued in 2017 represented a record number.

Some 81,752 citizens in Northern Ireland sought a southern passport, an increase of almost 20% on the previous year.

Meanwhile in Britain the demand for the documents soared by more than 28% to 81,287.

Prior to the post-Brexit surge in interest in Irish passports about 50,000 Irish passports were usually issued in Britain each year.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said: “This is the highest number of Irish passports ever issued in one year. It represents an increase of over 6% compared to 2016 (itself a record-breaking year), and an increase of over 15% since 2015.

“The number of applicants from Northern Ireland and Great Britain has continued to rise. Overall, almost 20% of the total number of applications received by the passport service this year were from Irish citizens in Northern Ireland or Great Britain.”

People born in Northern Ireland have an automatic right to Irish citizenship, while British people with an Irish parent, or in certain circumstances an Irish grandparent, also have an automatic right to become Irish citizens.