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Brexit vote sparks surge in online interest in Irish passports

Published 24/06/2016

A general view of passport control at Dublin Airport
A general view of passport control at Dublin Airport

The fallout from the Brexit vote has sparked a surge in online interest in Irish passports and moving to Ireland.

As world politics and money markets reeled from the poll, data from Google showed queries on citizenship in the Republic began to increase on Thursday evening and peaked in the early hours of the morning.

Likewise from lunchtime on referendum day searches on the web for information about moving to Ireland began to heat up and peaked in the early hours of Friday.

GoogleTrends said UK searches for "getting an Irish passport" jumped more than 100% after the Brexit result came through.

And while the data analysts would not reveal the exact number of searches for information on the Republic's citizenship rules, they said most interest was shown in Northern Ireland with the normally unionist heartland of Holywood, Co Down, taking top spot.

Figures from Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs earlier this month showed the total number of Irish passport applications from Britain this year is 3,334 - up very slightly from 3,239 over the same period last year.

Officials also cautioned that there have been significant fluctuations in recent years and applications from Britain were only a fraction of what they were from 2007-09.

A Senator in the Irish parliament, Neale Richmond, urged passport officials to be ready for the so-called Cascarino effect, recalling Jack Charlton's tactic of picking British footballers with Irish heritage when he managed the Republic of Ireland.

Mr Richmond, who has two English cousins who recently applied for Irish passports, said: "British citizens with Irish grandparents applying for Irish passports could now move from a torrent to a flood."

The Department of Foreign Affairs said its staff were dealing with more queries about travel documents.

"There has been an increase in queries in respect of entitlements to Irish passports today; however, reports of queues outside the passport offices are incorrect and the passport offices in Dublin and Cork are operating as normal," a spokeswoman said.

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