THE demand for Irish passports in the UK since the Brexit vote is continuing to surge with 2018 set to be the busiest year so far.
Figures from the Irish Embassy in London show just under 45,000 people from Britain and Northern Ireland applied for Irish passports in the first six months of this year.
In 2015, the year before the Brexit referendum, around 46,000 people in total made applications - followed by 63,453 in 2016 and a record 80,752 in 2017.
But the 44,962 applications made between January and June this year suggest the final figure for 2018 could set a new record.
Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond said more than 100,000 people could end up applying for an Irish passport in the UK before 2019.
"Since the people of the UK voted, narrowly, to leave the EU in 2016; we have seen a continuing rise in the number of applications for Irish passports in the UK," he said.
"Current rules entitle those born to Irish parents or Grandparents to apply for an Irish passport through a claim to citizenship.
"At least 10% of the UK’s population, not including Northern Ireland, are estimated to qualify for an Irish passport and in light of Brexit; many including a number of my own family members are staking their claim to an Irish passport.
"Figures released to me by the Irish Embassy in London have shown that there is no sign of this rush for Irish passports abating".
He added: "Figures for the first half of 2018 show the number of applications received by the Embassy in London is already at 44,962.
"Embassy officials predict that based on this, 2018 will be the busiest year so far for Irish passport applications in the UK.
"While many in the UK are concerned with the looming disaster of Brexit, we must seize the positives from this new wave of people reconnecting with their Irish heritage, our post Brexit UK-Irish relations can be built on a strong, connected, diaspora."