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Brexit Responsible for Rise in Irish Passport Applications

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Written by Brenda Winn '17

Following Brexit vote referendum in November, there was a 106% rise in Irish passport applications from British citizens. This caused an overall rise of 42% in Irish passport applications in 2016 from 2015, according to The Guardian. As of June, this number was only 9%.

Already, in the first quarter of 2017, Ireland’s foreign ministry has received 51,079 applications from Great Britain and Northern Ireland, compared to 30,303 in this time period last year, according to The Independent.

The Guardian reports that Ireland’s minister for foreign affairs, Charles Flanagan said that 2016 was “an exceptionally busy year for the passport service,” and he expects this trend to continue. The London embassy even had to take on extra staff, according to The Guardian.

Additionally, The Guardian states that the surge of interest has caused members of Ireland’s parliament to call on the Dublin government and asked them to halve the cost of applying for Irish citizenship in order to encourage Britons to do so more readily.

Flanagan also stated that in addition to Brexit,  he “think[s] it’s also reasonable to assume that there are large numbers of people of Irish descent who now feel that they would like to remain as EU citizens in what is a changing time in relations between Ireland and the UK,” according to The Independent. Those with a parent or grandparent born in Ireland are able to apply for an Irish passport, the Normangee Star reports.

The impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on the Irish economy is of great concern, and Flanagan told The Independent that he is anxious to make sure the Good Friday agreement is not disturbed. This is an agreement under which 1.8 million people residing in Northern Ireland are entitled to Irish and EU citizenship. As of now, with Brexit in place, the rights of working and traveling freely within Europe is still applicable to the Republic of Ireland, however, those in the UK and Northern Ireland are facing potential restrictions, reports The Normangee Star.

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Brenda Winn '17