The huge spike in UK citizens applying for Irish passports in the wake of the Brexit result runs the risk of overloading the system and causing delays, warned Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan.
Speaking during a day-long Dáil debate on the impact of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, Minister Flanagan urged those rushing to obtain an Irish passport to wait until after the summer months, a time when the number of applications is traditionally high.
Despite last Friday’s historic referendum result, in which the UK voted to leave the EU by a margin of 4%, its membership will not end immediately as the terms of their departure are still to be established.
Among the 48% who voted to remain in the EU, however, many are looking to acquire citizenship and a passport from another EU member state, which will allow them to freely travel within the EU when the UK does eventually leave. Ireland allows those who have at least one parent or grandparent born in the country to apply for citizenship, even if they themselves may never have lived in the country. Applicants would retain their UK citizenship as well.
Minister Flanagan warned, however, that there is no need for UK citizens to apply immediately.
“There is therefore absolutely no urgency for UK citizens, who may also be Irish citizens, in now applying for Irish passports,” he said.
The European Union today announced it would not hold informal talks with the UK regarding their departure until the UK implements Article 50 of the EU Treaty, the clause which will begin the two-year process of terminating their membership. The announcement will force the UK’s hand into beginning the process, although the UK have preferred to establish certain conditions before hand.
Read more: How to get an Irish passport
Minister @CharlieFlanagan - No change to Irish Passport Entitlements following Referendum https://t.co/FDGALFFv6j pic.twitter.com/gX738kjSIM— MerrionStreet.ie (@merrionstreet) June 27, 2016
Anecdotal evidence suggests that a large number of Britons are now regretting the decision to vote Leave and that they are now seeking ways in which they can retain their right to freedom of travel across Europe.
Writing for the New York Times, journalist Mark Scott wrote about the reasons why he is applying to become an Irish citizen.
“Don’t get me wrong. I’ve grudgingly accepted that 52 percent of my fellow citizens wanted to leave the European Union, a 70-year-old project that has united much of Europe into a somewhat unwieldy economic and social colossus, allowing roughly 500 million people to travel and work unhindered from Ireland to Greece,” he states.
“But for me, those benefits – particularly as a reporter who has lived and worked across the Continent – are worth holding on to. And that’s why, with a heavy heart, I’m applying to become an Irish citizen, saying goodbye to Britain just as it wants to say goodbye to Europe.”
Scott also speaks to a number of fellow Britons who share his beliefs about why they are looking for citizenship elsewhere.
“I don’t want to give up being British,” Milla Jackson told him, “but I don’t want to give up my European identity,” while Richard Ayling stated, “being British or German, it doesn’t matter to me. It’s about having the freedom to work and live wherever I want.”
The UK is already beginning to experience the impact of their decision with the value of the sterling drastically dropping. Enterprise Ireland, the agency responsible for helping Irish companies export to international markets, also announced today they would be reducing the number of Irish exports to the UK.
A Post Office has run out of Irish passport application forms https://t.co/MyqD9cgxzI— The Independent (@Independent) June 26, 2016
Ian Paisley telling UK citizens to get an Irish passport.
This #Brexit business just jumped the shark https://t.co/DT0Fci1uZZ— Philip Boucher-Hayes (@boucherhayes) June 26, 2016
“We’re in the process of planning our 2016-2020 strategy and that will be a key part of it,” the agency’s UK and northern Europe director Marina Donohoe told the Irish Times. “Will we be trying to decrease reliance on the UK? I think that will come as an outcome of the growth strategies that we’ll get behind in the US and northern Europe.
“Will it be down to 10 percent of the overall exports? Absolutely not. Will it get closer to 30 percent over the next five years? Probably. But the value within that 30 percent will have grown significantly over the years.
“We’ll be encouraging our clients to broaden their export base, their client base, so they’re addressing the risk factors and becoming more sustainable in the UK.”
H/T: The Irish Times
Right so how do I go about getting an Irish passport. I like being an EU citizen! I also like their human rights! #Brexit— Emma Ben Moussa (@emmabmoussa) June 24, 2016
Current scenes at the Irish passport office #Brexit #EUref pic.twitter.com/dULJJaJsTT— Dave McAuley (@davemcauley) June 24, 2016