Record number of Irish passports issued to people living in Britain as Brexit fuels demand

'Overall, almost 20 per cent of the total number of applications received by the passport service this year were from Irish citizens in Northern Ireland or Great Britain'

Around 50,000 Irish passports are usually issued in Britain each year, but 70,000 were issued in 2016
Around 50,000 Irish passports are usually issued in Britain each year, but 70,000 were issued in 2016

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

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin said more than 779,000 of the Republic's identity papers were issued in 2017 - another record figure.

Some 81,752 Irish citizens in Northern Ireland sought the burgundy-coloured passport, an increase of almost 20 per cent on the previous year.

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While in Britain the demand for the documents soared by more than 28 per cent to 81,287.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it received 785,026 passport applications during 2017 but it only issued 779,184.

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

"The number of applicants from Northern Ireland and Great Britain has continued to rise. Overall, almost 20 per cent 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.

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

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