Large increase in Britons applying for Irish citizenship
The number of British nationals applying to become Irish citizens has grown massively in the wake of the Brexit referendum.
Britons who qualify through Irish heritage have already been applying for passports in large numbers.
Now, statistics from the Irish Department of Justice show that they are being joined by Britons living in the Republic who do not have family roots in Ireland.
In 2014, just 51 British nationals became naturalised Irish citizens, while in 2015 the figure stood at 54.
In 2016, the year of the Brexit vote, the figure had almost doubled to 98. And last year saw a massive surge in applications, with 529 British nationals becoming Irish citizens.
Today, 480 people from 68 countries, among them 47 Britons, will take part in a citizenship ceremony at the National Concert Hall in Dublin where they will receive their certificates of naturalisation. Poland, the UK and Romania top the list of the nationalities taking part in the ceremony.
Fine Gael senator Neale Richmond said there has been a spike in British nationals becoming naturalised Irish citizens following the Brexit referendum and the uncertainty it has created.
“Already we’ve seen a massive increase in applications for passports by eligible citizens living in Northern Ireland and in Great Britain,” he said. “Now, figures released to me by the Department of Justice have shown that increasingly British nationals living here, who don’t qualify for a passport through lineage, are applying for Irish citizenship.
“There are over 300,000 British nationals living in the State and it is estimated a third would not qualify for a passport through lineage.
“Many are now looking to become naturalised Irish citizens for a host of reasons. This is a good news story and these new Irish citizens should be commended for their decision.”
Demand for Irish passports has soared in Northern Ireland and Great Britain in the wake of the vote to leave the EU.
It was reported that the number of applications in the first four months of 2018 soared by 25% compared with the figures for the same period in 2016.
At the time, the Department for Foreign Affairs said the increase was “undoubtedly in part influenced by Brexit-related demand, with around 10% of all applications this year from applicants living in Great Britain”.