Surge in demand for Irish passports in wake of Brexit referendum

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By Jon Vale

Applications for Irish passports from people based in Britain are up by 70% this year, Ireland's ambassador to the UK has said.

Dan Mulhall added applications for Irish citizenship through grandparents had also increased "quite dramatically" amidst a surge in applications after Brexit.

People born in Northern Ireland have an automatic right to Irish citizenship, while British people with an Irish parent, or in certain circumstances an Irish grandparent, also have an automatic right to become Irish citizens.

"We've seen significant percentage increases, the overall numbers are still not dramatic," Mr Mulhall told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"The increase this year, the first few months of this year, over last year is up 70%, that's the demand for Irish passports from people based in Britain.

"Also of course people applying for Irish citizenship through a grandparent, that's gone up quite dramatically."

While around 50,000 Irish passports were usually issued in Britain each year, 70,000 were issued in 2016, Mr Mulhall said.

The UK's Irish ambassador, who is due to leave his post to become the Irish ambassador to the US, also told Today a border poll on a united Ireland could be "something that will arise at some time in the future".

"Brexit complicates the situation for everyone in Ireland," he said.

"We would prefer if Britain were to remain in the European Union, that would be the most straightforward way of maintaining the good situation we have with Northern Ireland."

Mr Mulhall also said talks over the border in Ireland were "in a good position" given the recognition on all sides to maintain a soft border after Brexit.

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