Fianna Fáil Foreign Affairs spokesperson Niall Collins TD
BREXIT has led to a surge in applications for Irish passports, as new figures show the number of people in Northern Ireland and Great Britain applying has increased by more than 80% over the last six years.
New figures released by the Department of Foreign Affairs to Limerick Fianna Fáil Deputy Niall Collins, shows 158,763 people had applied for an Irish passport by the end of October, an 83% increase compared to 2012.
“Having an Irish passport has always been a prized possession for many people,” Deputy Collins said.
“However, I think its value has increased considerably since the decision of the UK to leave the European Union in 2016.”
“This is evidence of the impact of Brexit on the thinking of many members of the Irish diaspora living in Great Britain, and I suspect of many unionists living in Northern Ireland who want to retain their citizenship of the European Union.”
“It will be interesting to note the number of applications for Irish passports after the UK officially leaves the Union at the end of March 2019,” Deputy Collins, who is the Fianna Fáil Foreign Affairs spokesperson, added.
According to Deputy Collins, the full ramifications of Great Britain leaving the European Union and giving up the automatic right to free movement across the EU may only become apparent “when reality bites.”
“Earlier this year, we saw major delays for some people applying for new passports. The Department of Foreign Affairs and the Passport Office need to have the necessary staff in place to ensure that any further increases in applications do not cause further delays and waiting times.”