The number of British nationals applying for Irish citizenship has risen by more than 2,000 per cent since the Brexit referendum almost three years ago, according to figures from Ireland’s Department of Justice.
Irish citizenship ceremonies were first introduced in 2011, and for the first four years applications from Britons averaged about 60 a year. In 2016, however, the year of the Brexit vote, that figure rose to 568.
The following year, 2017, the number of British applicants increased again to 860, while last year, more than 1,200 Britons applied to become Irish citizens.
This year already, more than 600 applications had been received by the end of May, Ireland’s department of justice have said. That figure is expected to rise during the latter half of 2019.
The figures have increased in the line with the numbers of applications for Irish passports.
In the year before the Brexit vote, there were more than 46,000 applications from Great Britain, but last year that more than doubled to over 98,500.
Applying for Irish citizenship is a separate and distinct process from applying for an Irish passport, but in order to get an Irish passport, you must first be an Irish citizen.
Citizenship is automatic for many people, such as those born on the island of Ireland before 2005 or those with a parent who is an Irish-born citizen.
Others must apply to the Department of Justice for citizenship.
While attending the most recent citizenship ceremony in April, Irish Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan noted the “significant numbers” of applicants originating from the UK.
Just over 300 British nationals were among the 2,400 new Irish citizens congratulated by the minister.
“It is reasonable to attribute this steady rise in applications from British nationals over the last three years to concerns around the outcome of the Brexit process,” a justice department spokesman told BBC News of the increases.
British nationals are the second biggest group of non-Irish residents in the Republic of Ireland.
The most recent Irish census, carried out in April 2016, found there were just over 103,000 residents who described themselves as British.
In 2012, the Dublin government issued more than 25,000 certificates of Irish nationality to people from around the world, but just 85 of those documents (0.3 per cent) were granted to Britons.
But between 2016 and 2017, the number of successful British applicants rocketed by more than 400 per cent, increasing from 98 certificate recipients to 526.
The number increased again last year, when 687 British people received certificates of nationality from the Irish government.
So far this year, the Irish Department of Justice has issued 312 certificates of Irish nationality to British applicants.