68% rise in United Kingdom applications for Irish passports

Frederick Owens
April 17, 2017

The December-February decrease represents 49,200 fewer British visitors compared to the same period last year, while if the February level of decline continued for the year, it would mean 850,000 less arrivals from Britain to Ireland, according to the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC), which says is real evidence that the Irish tourism industry is very vulnerable to Brexit, rating it as the biggest threat since the global recession.

In light of the increase in applications, Mr Flanagan said he was "very concerned" about the UKs departure from the European Union, particularly in relation to its potential impact on the Good Friday agreement.

People with a parent or grandparent born in Ireland are among those who can apply for an Irish passport.

British citizens told the Guardian a year ago that they were applying for Irish citizenship to "eliminate any hassle in employment" and ensure they can travel freely after Brexit.

"It's reasonable to suggest that Brexit is a factor in what are record numbers of applications", stated Flanagan from the ruling party, Fine Gael.

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Under the Good Friday agreement, the 1.8 million people resident in Northern Ireland are entitled to Irish and European Union 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 per cent rise on 2015. According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), that translated into 9.584 million overseas visits to Ireland in 2016 and revenue of over €4.5 billion. Ireland's foreign ministry has been forced to hire extra staff and launch an online application portal to keep up with the demand.

2017 could be the first year in history that more than 1,000,000 people apply for an Irish passport, and the primary reason for that would appear to be Brexit.

. Less than four days after the Brexit vote last June, Mr Flanagan said there had been a surge in applications because of a "sense of concern".

A spokesperson for Flanagan's same department stated: "The increase in application numbers is attributable to a variety of causes, including an expanding population and a significant increase in outbound travel in recent years".

There has been an increase in applications from Britain and Northern Ireland since the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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