Number of British looking for Irish passports rises as Brexit looms

The Passport Office has had to take on 200 temporary staff to deal with the demand...

Irish passports, numbers, Department of Foreign Affairs, Passport Card, applications, Canberra,

File photo | Image: RollingNews.ie

There has been a major rise in Irish passport applications from England, Scotland and Wales in the run-up to the Brexit referendum.

There were 1,901 applications in the first five months of the year, an increase of 25% over the same period in 2015, and the demand seems to be accelerating as the June 23rd polling date grows closer – April saw a 42% rise alone.

According to Sky News, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said his department has had "an unprecedented level of applications".

The Passport Office has hired over 200 new staff on a temporary basis to take care of the demand.

Flanagan opined:

"I don't have any evidence that you can forge a link between an increase in passport applications and the current referendum but I do acknowledge the factual position that there is heightened interest in Irish passport application and Irish citizenship."

People who have an Irish parent, grandparent or great-grandparent can apply for citizenship, as can those living in Northern Ireland.