Britons apparently desperate to hang onto EU citizenship in the wake of the Brexit referendum result have been making record numbers of applications for Irish passports.
Ireland's embassy and post offices in Northern Ireland received more than 4,000 enquiries on Monday, compared with the 200 it normally receives, Reuters reports.
Anyone born in the Irish Republic, Northern Ireland or with an Irish parent or grandparent, is eligible for an Irish passport – some six million people living in the UK.
Ireland’s foreign minister Charlie Flanagan has appealed to Britons to stop rushing for Irish passports, as the surge threatened to overwhelm Irish consular offices.
In a statement he said: “An unnecessary surge in applications for Irish passports will place significant pressure on the system and on turnaround times.
“The increased interest clearly points to a sense of concern among some UK passport holders that the rights they enjoy as EU citizens are about to abruptly end.
“I want to state clearly that this is not the case.”
Ireland’s embassy in Paris has also been dealing with a record number of requests, Reuters reports.
The stampede for Irish passports was also fanned by the Democratic Unionist Party MP Ian Paisley, who had campaigned for Brexit. He tweeted: “My advice is if you are entitled to a second passport then take one.”
Last year Ireland issued about 670,000 passports, mostly to Irish citizens, while at least 500,000 of Northern Ireland’s 1.8m citizens hold an Irish passport.
Northern Irish citizens can hold both a British and an Irish passport.
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