The number of people from Northern Ireland and Great Britain applying for an Irish passport has increased by 83% over the past six years according to information secured by Fianna Fáil’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, Niall Collins TD.

Deputy Collins was commenting as new information provided to him from the Department of Foreign Affairs shows that to the end of October 2018, 158,763 people had applied for an Irish passport compared to 86,770 in 2012.

“This is evidence of the impact of Brexit on the thinking of many members of the Irish diaspora living in Great Britain, and I suspect of many unionists living in Northern Ireland who want to retain their citizenship of the European Union”, said Deputy Collins.

“Having an Irish passport has always been a prized possession for many people. However, I think its value has increased considerably since the decision of the UK to leave the European Union in 2016.

“It will be interesting to note the number of applications for Irish passports after the UK officially leaves the Union at the end of March 2019. The full ramifications of what leaving the Union, and in particular giving up the automatic right to free movement across the EU, means may only become apparent when reality bites.

“Earlier this year, we saw major delays for some people applying for new passports. The Department of Foreign Affairs and the Passport Office need to have the necessary staff in place to ensure that any further increases in applications do not cause further delays and waiting times,” concluded Collins.