This is the year’s record and it is not because of Saint Patrick’s. An amount of 230,000 people applied for an Irish passport since the beginning of the current year, announcement made by the Irish foreign minister on the 16th of March. Besides this number, 5,000 more were expected to claim it this past weekend.
Since January 1st, the number of applications received was higher in 30 per cent compared to the same period last year, the ministry said. The planned Brexit date of 29th of March lead up to the spike of the numbers and it is predictable that 2019 will break all the records registered due to this situation.
In 2018, the Irish country issued 860,000 passports, including renewals. This was the highest number in the European Union country’s history. Among this number of issued passports, 84,855 went to applicants in Northern Ireland, representing a 2 per cent increase compared to the year of 2017. For now, citizens of Northern Ireland can still hold an Irish and British passport.
The residents of Great Britain are also part of the statistics with 98,544 passports received. This rise represents 22 por cent over the previous year, a larger jump since 2015, the year before UK voted for the Brexit. At the time of the voting only 46,000 people in Great Britain submitted applications for Irish papers.
However, the numbers might not only be related with the Brexit and the Irish foreign minister refers to a raised interest in travelling and “a tendency towards early renewal” for the increase. The government office was not expected to comment on a Brexit consequence situation.
The fact that the Great Britain wants to leave European Union is making residents of London, with Irish heritage, ‘wake up’ for a new reality which they feel concerned about. Travelling free of border issues, within the EU, is one of those, specially when it comes to work related issues, a priority to these people, who seek now for their rights.
The majority of the people with these interests are misinformed about their rights to an Irish passport and citizenship. The rules appear to be unclear: Ireland stopped granting automatically citizenship to anyone born in the country, from 2005. Nowadays, a teenager born in Ireland needs to have a parent with Irish citizenship to claim his own, contrarily to an older adult born somewhere, who can ask for it if one of the parents or grandparents were Irish.
It is still unknown whether the eventual Brexit situation will affect the Republic of Ireland and its citizens living in the UK. However, the possible outcome of the Brexit deal should influence heavily the commercial relations between the two countries. The Irish Minister of Agriculture, Michael Creed, warned that it might cause impact to the sector, since 40% of the country’s agri-food exports go to their neighbours in the UK.
During the past week the British Parliament denied, for the second time, the agreement to leave European Union negotiated by Theresa May, British Prime Minister. They also voted against UK leaving the EU without negotiating the needed procedures, asking for an extension of the limit date of leaving. So far, no one knows what is going to happen and we will need to hold our horses for a while. It might take days, months of years to define if in fact the UK leaving the European Union, and if so, how it will work in many ways.
The Prime Minister Theresa May has warned the members of the parliament that if UK fails to back the Brexit deal at the third time of asking, Brussels might insist on a prolonged stay, potentially ruining chances of leaving the European Union overall.