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Published on : Monday, April 17, 2017
Expressing his concerns over the impact of the UK’s impending departure from the European Union, Flanagan said there had been a surge in the applications because of a sense of concern after the Brexit vote last June.
Ireland’s foreign ministry received 51,079 passport applications from Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the first quarter of 2017, compared with 30,303 during the same period last year — a rise of 69 per cent. It received 250,000 passport applications from across the world in the same quarter.
The department is hiring extra staff and has launched an online passport renewal service to handle the number of applications.
British citizens had told the media that, they were applying for Irish citizenship to eliminate any hassle in employment and ensure they can travel freely after Brexit.
Under the Good Friday agreement, the 1.8 million people resident in Northern Ireland are entitled to Irish and EU citizenship.
At the start of this year, it was revealed that 733,060 Irish passports were issued last year, a rise of nine per cent on 2015, with around 65,000 given to Britons, a 42 percent rise in 2015.
The biggest surge was seen in the three months after the Brexit referendum, when Ireland saw an 83 per cent rise in the applications from the UK for Irish passports.
In light of the increase in applications, Mr Flanagan said he was “very concerned” about the UKs departure from the EU, particularly in relation to its potential impact on the Good Friday agreement.
Whether British citizens will retain their right to freedom of movement after Brexit is still unclear, but Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s Brexit coordinator, has said he will try to persuade EU leaders to make the case.