Northern Ireland

Irish passport applications continue to soar

Irish passport applications are continuing to increase
Irish passport applications are continuing to increase

MORE than 85,000 people have applied for an Irish passport so far this year, already exceeding the total number received in 2018.

As the Brexit deadline approaches, figures also reveal around 49,000 of the applications this year were from people in Northern Ireland, while around 36,000 were from those elsewhere in the UK.

The statistics, which were released to Fianna Fáil’s Niall Collins, show applications have been steadily increasing since 2016, when the UK voted to leave the European Union.

The number of applications this year is already almost double the number of applicants for Irish passports during the whole of 2016.

A total of 85,517 applications were made by the end of August this year, compared to 79,513 in 2018.

In 2016, there were were 48,186 applications and just under 26,000 in 2015 - less than a third of the total received so far this year.

Mr Collins, Fianna Fail's spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, said "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."