THE POST OFFICE in Pettigo, a town located between Co Donegal and Co Fermanagh, has seen a 15 fold increase in people from Northern Ireland requesting Irish passports, according to its postmaster.
James Gallagher of Pettigo Post Office told TheJournal.ie that the increase has been over a two-year timeframe.
Pettigo is the only town on the island of Ireland that’s split by the UK-Irish border – the river that runs through the centre of the town marks the border line.
Since the UK voted to leave the European Union, there has been increased attention on the town, with many European journalists visiting the town in the past few months.
Speaking to this website, the Head of Passport Office Fiona Penollar said there was an increase in demand for Irish passports, and that included applications from people in Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
“Percentage wise [the increase] is relatively substantial – it is between 15-20%, however numerically wise, and putting that in context of the 900,000 applications, it is very small.”
If you were born on the island of Ireland before 2005, you are automatically entitled to Irish citizenship. If you were born on the island of Ireland on or after 1 January 2005, your right to Irish citizenship depends on your parents’ citizenship and where they resided before your birth.
In a statement, the Postmasters Union said that although they didn’t have figures on whether this increase is representative in every post office along the border, overall “any new business is good for post offices”.
“While this may be a side effect of the current Brexit context, this would not constitute any significance in terms of long term business at post offices.”
In a previous PQ from Fianna Fáil’s Darragh O’Brien, the Irish government said that since 2012, the number of passport application for a Republic of Ireland passport from Northern Ireland has more than doubled.
In 2017, passport applications from Northern Ireland increased by 20% which is 82,274 applications, and from Great britain it increased by 28% up to 80,752.
- with reporting from Nicky Ryan