2018 on pace to be the busiest year yet for British applications for Irish passports

There has been a surge in British people applying for Irish passports new figures have shown.

Neale Richmond, Fine Gael senator and chairman of the Irish Senate’s Brexit committee, revealed the British application figures for Irish passports this week.

Read More: British citizens rush to claim Irish passports as Brexit nears

Richmond said, “In 2015, the year before the referendum, there were 46,229 applications, consistent with the annual average up to then.”

(These figures do not account for applications from Northern Ireland.)

“In 2016, the year of the referendum, this figure rose to 63,453 before increasing further to a whopping 80,752 in 2017.”

“Figures for the first half of 2018 show the number of applications received by the Embassy in London is already at 44,962.”

“Embassy officials predict that based on this, 2018 will be the busiest year so far for Irish passport applications in the UK.”

Richmond said that in the wake of Brexit, it was important to seize the opportunity of building better Irish-British relationships. “While many in the UK are concerned with the looming disaster of Brexit, we must seize the positives from this new wave of people reconnecting with their Irish heritage, our post-Brexit UK-Irish relations can be built on a strong, connected diaspora.”

Some earlier news reports stated that approximately 15,000 British people have been denied Irish passports. This erroneous figure arose from the difference between British applications for Irish passports (80,752) and Irish passports issued through the embassy in London (65,678). The figure does not account for passports that may have been issued online or attained through other means.

In the first year and a half since its launch, Ireland’s online service for Irish passports has issued 270,187 passports.

Read More: How to get an Irish passport

The actual number of British applicants denied an Irish passport is not known but is thought to be small and in the double digits.

The number of people from Northern Ireland who applied for an Irish passport rose from 53,715 in 2015 to 67,582 in 2016. It again rose to 82,274 in 2017.

As of May, there have been 46,898 Northern Irish applications for 2018.

Globally, the number of passport applications received from outside of Ireland rose from 190,905 in 2016 to 227,223 in 2017. By the end of September 2018, the figure was at 191,271.

Anyone born to an Irish parent or grandparent can apply for an Irish passport. Figures estimate that as such, nearly 10% of the UK population (excluding Northern Ireland) can successfully apply.

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British applications for Irish passports have surged since BrexitGetty