Northern Ireland news

Brexit: Dozens of British officials working in EU secure Irish passports

European Union flags in front of the Berlaymont building in Brussels, Belgium

DOZENS of British officials working in the European Commission have secured an Irish passport in order to maintain career progress within the EU institutions after Brexit.

Some 120 officials with British nationality have 're-badged' to other passports since the UK triggered Article 50 in March 2017 to leave the EU, European Commission figures show.

EU officials are employed on a proportionate basis according to the size of the member state.

While the EU decided that officials with British nationality could continue to work in the institutions after Brexit, they would not be able to enjoy promotion.

RTÉ reported that it understood around 10 per cent of the 569 officials with Irish nationality working in the European Commission could have originally been British before securing an Irish passport.

Meanwhile, there are concerns over a drop in the number of Irish graduates applying to work in EU organisations.

Figures show there are only 28 Irish EU officials at entry level when there should be 68 for Ireland to be proportionately represented.

Of all the Irish EU officials in post, 29 per cent are over the age of 58.

It has prompted fears of problems for Ireland in addressing Brexit issues in future due to a lack of Irish officials in EU positions of influence, RTÉ reported.

The broadcaster also said it could mean some Irish EU officials are 'passed over' because re-badged British officials may be in more senior positions.

Potential reasons cited for the decline in numbers of Irish recruits to the EU institutions include the lure of US tech companies and the need for proficiency in different European languages.

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