Irish passport applications from UK soar as Brexit deadline looms
The number of people in the UK applying for Irish passports has dramatically increased, as the Brexit deadline approaches.
Following the trend set since the referendum in 2016, new figures show that, in the first eight months of this year, there were more than 85,000 applications.
This is almost double the number of applicants for Irish passports during the whole of 2016.
These figures were released to Fianna Fail's spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Niall Collins, who said they show that "the reality of Brexit appears to be filtering down".
"Since the referendum in June 2016, we have seen applications for Irish passports from the UK and Northern Ireland increase from 48,186 in 2016 to 85,517 in the first eight months of this year," he said.
"That’s almost double the number of applications, and there are still another four months of the year left.
“The Irish passport has always been held in high esteem, and it’s becoming obvious that Brexit has compounded the demand as people living in the UK and Northern Ireland become increasingly worried about what impact Brexit will have on their daily lives and their ability to travel.
Mr Collins said he expects applications to continue to increase over the few month due to the uncertainty surrounding a potential no-deal Brexit.
Of the 85,517 applications submitted between January and September, around 49,000 were from people in Northern Ireland, while around 36,000 were from those elsewhere in the UK.
The increased demand for Irish passports in recent years has lead to calls for an Irish passport office to be set up in Northern Ireland.
In September, SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan also raised concerns that several Northern Ireland residents had not received Irish passports they had applied for as they had been "lost in the system".
He said the problem appeared to arise when the new passports are being transferred from the Irish postal service, An Post, to Royal Mail at the border.
Belfast Telegraph Digital