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'That's an extraordinary number': The amount of UK applications for Irish passports set to double

The Irish Ambassador to the UK said that the surge comes as a direct result of Brexit.

Irish ambassador to the UK, Dan Mulhall
Irish ambassador to the UK, Dan Mulhall
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

THE IRISH AMBASSADOR to the UK has said that the amount of Irish passports issued in Britain is set to double this year, compared to the last full year before the Brexit vote.

Brexit is cited as the main cause of this surge in demand by Dan Mulhall, as people scramble to retain an EU passport.

Mulhall told BBC Radio 4 that demand for Irish passport applications in the UK had been static for the last four to five years before Brexit happened.

“Last year, it rose by 40%,” the ambassador said.

“So far this year, we’ve seen another significant increase, and it looks like as if we’re going to be close enough to doubling the number of passports this year compared with 2015, which was the last pre-Brexit year.”

Over half a million passports were issued in the first half of 2017, representing a 10% increase on the year before.

Mulhall called the figure “an extraordinary number”. He added that such high figures were a sign that people around the world sought Irish passports “in order to safeguard their position for the future”.

In April, it emerged that the cost of running the Passport Office surged by almost €4.3 million last year as demand for Irish passports increased in the wake of the Brexit referendum.

An additional 32 staff were hired to cope with the rise in applications for Irish passports during 2016, while a number of temporary clerical officers were also engaged during especially busy periods.

Mulhall was also asked about the kind of border that would be put in place post-Brexit, and said a hard border is “not feasible”.

Referencing the Taoiseach’s visit to Northern Ireland today, the Irish ambassador said that “the clock is ticking now” and that it was urgent that a power-sharing executive is set up in the North so it can contribute to this “very important debate”.

Read: Anger as ambassador hits out at claims Ireland will leave the EU

Read: A writer for the London Times has questioned Ireland’s ‘tenuous claim to nationhood’

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Sean Murray

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