Belfast Telegraph

Huge rise in number of British nationals applying to become Irish after Brexit referendum

The number of British nationals applying for Irish citizenship has risen significantly (Brian Lawless/PA)
The number of British nationals applying for Irish citizenship has risen significantly (Brian Lawless/PA)

More than 1,200 British nationals applied to become Irish citizens last year, new figures have revealed.

The number of British nationals applying for Irish citizenship has risen significantly since the Brexit referendum, the BBC reports.

For the first four years after Irish citizenship ceremonies were first introduced in 2011 an average of around 60 Britons a year applied.

In 2016, the year of the referendum, some 568 British nationals applied for Irish citizenship.

This number grew to 860 in 2017 before spiking to more than 1,200 in 2018.

The upward trend appears to be continuing this year, with 607 applications made up until May 30. This figure is expected to rise during the latter half of 2019 with the UK scheduled to leave the European Union on October 31.

The trend mirrors the flood of applications for Irish passports since the Brexit vote.

In 2015, there were more than 46,000 applications from Great Britain. This more than doubled in 2018 to over 98,500 Irish passport applications.

The current minimum waiting time for a first-time passport application from Great Britain is 72 working days.

Applying for Irish citizenship is a different process from applying for an Irish passport, but in order to get an Irish passport you must first be an Irish citizen.

Irish citizenship can be acquired in a series of ways, including through place of birth, Irish descent, marriage, adoption or residing in Ireland for a particular length of time.

Irish citizenship is automatic for people who were born on the Island of Ireland before 2005 or those with a parent who is an Irish born citizen.

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Justice minister Charlie Flanagan (Liam McBurney/PA)

Charlie Flanagan, Irish Justice Minister, recently remarked at a Irish citizenship ceremony in April on the "significant numbers" of applicants from the UK.

More than 300 British nationals were among the 2,400 new Irish citizens at the ceremony.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice and Equality, when asked whether the significant rise of British nationals applying for Irish citizenship can be put down to Brexit, said: "It is reasonable to attribute this steady rise in applications from British nationals over the last three years to concerns around the outcome of the Brexit process."

Up until 2017, British nationals made up just a tiny minority of those seeking to be an Irish citizen.

In 2012, the Irish government issued more than 25,000 certificates of Irish nationality, just 85 of those were granted to Britons.

The following year, when more than 24,000 certificates were issued, only 55 were presented to people from Britain.

But between 2016 and 2017, the numbers rocketed by 400%, from 98 to 526.

The number increased again last year, when 687 people received Irish citizenship.

So far this year, the Irish Department of Justice has issued 312 certificates of Irish nationality to British applicants.

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