Huge rush for Irish passports from British people with Irish parents in the UK
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Huge rush for Irish passports from British people with Irish parents in the UK

OVER a third of British citizens applying for Irish passports have an Irish-born parent as applications continue to surge, new figures show.

Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs has revealed that second-generation Irish people in the UK and Irish-born British citizens are continuing to rush for Irish citizenship in the wake of 2016’s Brexit vote.

There has also been a huge increase in applications for citizenship by people living in Northern Ireland, Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said.

The surge in applications is not solely due to Brexit however, Mr Coveney claimed on Monday.

The number of applications from Great Britain rose by over a quarter (28%) last year from 63,400 to 81,200, 40 percent of which were first-time applicants.

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Of those, some 37 percent were Irish citizens born abroad to an Irish-born parent, while almost half (47%) were British citizens born in Ireland.

The number of passport applications received in 2017 from applicants in Northern Ireland rose by almost 20 percent to 81,752 compared with 2016.

“While the increase in passport applications from Northern Ireland and Great Britain is undoubtedly partly linked to the ongoing process of the UK’s departure from the European Union, the increase is not solely due to Brexit,” Mr Coveney said.

“Other factors such as increased mobility and population growth are also relevant.

“It is particularly notable that, of the over 80,000 applications from Great Britain this year, almost half were from persons born in Ireland and another approximately 37% were from Irish citizens born abroad to an Irish-born parent."

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The largest increase in Irish passport applications last year was from those 7 percent of applicants using the foreign birth registry – the citizenship process for people with an Irish-born grandparent.

Around six million people living in the UK are estimated to have at least one Irish grandparent.

There were 17,800 people who used the process in 2017, with the number from Britain growing by no less than 95 percent compared to 2016.

There was also a 33 percent rise in applications from the United States and a 30 percent rise from South Africa.

The Department also said the new Online Passport Renewal Service has issued over 100,000 passports to new citizens since in launched last March.

Overall, 779,184 Irish passports were issued last year out of a total of 785,026 applications.