The number of Irish passport applications from Britain was 42% higher in 2016 compared to 2015, The Guardian reports.
Figures released by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs show that in June 2016, the month of the Brexit referendum, the numbers were 9% higher than in 2015. By November 2016, the increase had reached a staggering 106% and passport offices in London and Edinburgh received 6,443 passport applications compared to slightly more than 3,000 the year before. Ireland’s London embassy even had to take on extra staff to handle the deluge of applications.
Charles Flanagan, Ireland’s minister for foreign affairs and trade, called 2016 “an exceptionally busy year for the passport service”.
Many foreigners are entitled to Irish passports
Ireland is famous for its unusually accommodating rules when it comes to foreign nationals with Irish roots. If you have at least one parent who, at the time of your birth, was an Irish citizen, you are entitled to an Irish passport – even if you don’t live in Ireland or have any plans to relocate to the republic. It is also possible to obtain Irish citizenship, and the corresponding Irish passport, if at least one of your grandparents was (or is) and Irish citizen born in Ireland. So, a person who live outside Ireland and whose parents were born outside Ireland can easily obtain an Irish citizenship based on the irishness of just one grandparent.
Democratic Unionist Ian Paisly urge constituents to obtain Irish passports
In the wake of the EU referendum, Ian Paisley Jr, a Democratic Unionist party politician, advised his Northern Ireland constituents to obtain Irish passports. Citizens in all Northern Ireland communities are entitled to one Irish and one British passport.
“My advice is, if you are entitled to second passport then take one … take as many as you can especially if you travel to different world trouble zones,” Ian Paisley urged in a Tweet.
Applications for Irish passports from Northern Ireland has risen by 27% to almost 70,000.
Ireland and the Schengen Area
Just like the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland is not a part of the Schengen Area, but compared to the UK, Ireland has always looked more favourably on joining. Historically, Ireland’s main reason to remain outside has been its reluctance to cause any trouble regarding the Common Travel Area. Ireland and the UK have maintained a Common Travel Area (CTA) since 1923.