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Vote sparks 20% rise in people checking if they Irish ancestry

Online family ancestry searches have risen since the EU referendum, with many people apparently keen to discover if they qualify for an Irish passport.

Website Ancestry.co.uk reported a 40% surge in new trial memberships in the week since the UK voted to leave the European Union, with daily searches of the site's Irish records up by 20%.

Spokeswoman Sue Moncur said: "The question of identity has been brought into focus for many because of the referendum. A lot of people are concerned about the impact that separation from the EU may have on freedom of movement.

"It seems likely that the rise in searches of our extensive Irish records might be a result of people looking for a link to Ireland. Millions of British people have Irish ancestry, so the increase in activity suggests a trend in people looking to confirm their links to Ireland, possibly with the longer-term goal of applying for an Irish passport."

The figures come after a deluge of new applications for Irish passports from UK citizens worried about Brexit.

The Republic's Department of Foreign Affairs appealed for calm after some Post Offices here ran out of Irish passport application forms.

Belfast Telegraph