Brexit: Irish passport applications from British have surged since EU referendum, figures show
Over 44,900 applications received in first six months of 2018 - compared with 46,000 in whole of 2015
Irish passport applications from British residents have surged since the European Union referendum, according to new figures released by the Irish embassy in London.
Data shows that almost as many applications were received in the first six months of this year as in the whole of 2015 - before Britain voted to leave the bloc.
It comes after the global rating agency, Standard & Poor's, suggested a no-deal Brexit would trigger a lengthy recession in the UK, with property prices slumping and inflation rising to more than five per cent.
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According to the new figures - released to Fine Gael's Neale Richmond - the country received 44,900 applications from January to June 2018 while 46,000 were received in 2015 in total. In 2014, the number exceeded 80,000.
Officials are now expecting 2018 to be the busiest year so far for Irish passport applications in the UK.
British citizens wishing to obtain an Irish passport are eligible to apply if their parents or grandparents were Irish citizens born in Ireland.
Mr Richmond, who chairs the Brexit committee in the Irish senate, suggested that the “looming disaster of Brexit” was prompting eligible Britons to reconnect with their Irish heritage.
“Since the people of the UK voted, narrowly, to leave the EU in 2016, we have seen a continuing rise in the number of applications for Irish passports in the UK,” he said.
Mr Richmond continued: “At least 10 per cent of the UK's population, not including Northern Ireland, are estimated to qualify for an Irish passport and in light of Brexit, many including a number of my own family members are staking their claim to an Irish passport.
“Figure released to me by the Irish Embassy in London have shown that there is no sign of this for Irish passports abating.”
Gareth Thomas, a Labour MP and supporter of the People's Vote campaign for a fresh EU referendum, said the "Brexit-based surge" was "not exactly a ringing endorsement of the ability of the government to get a good deal".
He added: “As the Brexit that was promised looks wildly different to the one that’s being delivered, it’s no surprise more and more people are looking for a way to mitigate the disastrous consequences for themselves and their families.
“With the Brexit negotiations clearly headed for a miserable outcome, momentum is building behind the campaign for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal. The people of this country are demanding the right to have the final say on Brexit.”
On Monday, Theresa May and Philip Hammond, the chancellor, will also meet with more than 100 business executives as the seek to allay their concerns over the negotiations in Brussels with just 150 days until Brexit.
The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.
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