Rush for Irish citizenship from UK may only be the beginning

There was a rush for Irish citizenship in Northern Ireland in the lead up to the triggering of Article 50, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Surges in applications coincided with major Brexit developments. When UK Prime Minister Theresa May signalled a ‘hard Brexit’ on January 17, there were 796 applications.

The day she signed the letter to trigger Article 50, 28 March, saw 725 applications made.

Ireland’s embassy in London was also inundated with applications.

Donal O’Connell, a senior official at the embassy, said in an email on March 21 that “urgent sanction” was needed from headquarters for overtime to deal with the backlog. He noted that the embassy had “over 1,700 unopened emails requiring attention”.

The information does not reveal people’s motivation for seeking to preserve their EU citizenship.

And the number of applications may prove to be small compared to those made after Brexit actually occurs. There are an estimated 6.7 million people in the UK eligible to apply for Irish citizenship.