Demand for Irish passports in Great Britain doubles

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan
Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan

Twice as many people in Great Britain were issued with Irish passports last month than in November 2015, according to new figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

There were 6,855 applications from Great Britain in November 2016, a significant increase on 3,133 in November 2015, and the number from Northern Ireland increased to 4,569 from 2,267.

There has been a sharp increase in the number of Irish passport applications from people in the UK since the Brexit vote.

November has seen the largest monthly increase in interest from Northern Ireland since the EU referendum in June.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan was forced to urge UK residents earlier this year not to rush to apply for a passport as he believed the “unnecessary surge” would place significant pressure on the passports application system.

He said free movement rights would continue to exist in the two years of negotiations for the UK’s exit from the EU and the referendum “has not in any way changed the entitlement to an Irish passport which extends to those born on the island of Ireland and those claiming citizenship through parents or grandparents born in Ireland”.

Mr Flanagan added: “An unnecessary surge in applications for Irish passports will place significant pressure on the system and on turnaround times and is likely to impact those with a genuine need for passports to facilitate imminent travel plans.

“I urge those who believe they need to apply for an Irish passport immediately to enjoy free travel in the EU, to take full account of the facts before making an application.”

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