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Applications for new Irish passports on the rise in UK

By May Bulman

The number of British people applying for Irish passports has risen by more than two-thirds, indicating a continuing surge in Britons seeking to become citizens of Ireland following the Brexit vote.

The Republic received 51,079 passport applications from Britain and Northern Ireland in the first quarter of 2017.

That's compared with 30,303 during the same period last year - a rise of 69%.

It received 250,000 passport applications from across the world in the same quarter.

The increase in demand is so large that the country's Foreign Affairs Department is said to be hiring extra staff, and has also launched an online passport renewal service.

Charlie Flanagan, the Republic's Foreign Minister, said: "It's reasonable to suggest that Brexit is a factor in what are record numbers of applications.

"I think it's also reasonable to assume there are large numbers of people of Irish descent who now feel they would like to remain as EU citizens in what is a changing time in relations between Ireland and the UK."

At the start of this year, it was revealed that 733,060 Irish passports were issued last year, a rise of 9% on 2015, with around 65,000 given to Britons - a 42% rise on 2015.

The biggest surge was seen in the three months after the Brexit referendum, when Ireland saw an 83% rise in the applications from the UK for Irish passports.

Under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, the 1.8 million people resident in Northern Ireland are entitled to Irish and EU citizenship.

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