Number of Irish citizens in UK up by nearly 100,000 in 2019

  • Record number of passport applications behind huge spike

By Bernard Purcell

The number of Irish citizens in the UK has jumped by nearly 100,000 – thanks to record numbers of applications for Irish passports from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The huge spike in Irish passport holders in the UK has been a continuous trend since the Brexit referendum in 2016.

Both Ireland and the UK allow dual citizenship.

It comes at a time that numbers of Irish people in the UK who were born in Ireland has been declining.

In the 2011 Census 430,309 people living here identified themselves as Irish-born, down 37 per cent from the peak of 683,000 in 1961.

In 2018 the Annual Population Survey by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) put the numbers of Irish-born people here at just 380,000.

In the past year more than 94,500 first-time applications for Irish passports were received from people born in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales.

Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that during ‘peak periods’ it received more than 5,800 applications a day.

Applications exceeded 100,000 a month in January, March, April and May.

Last February and March, as the UK approached its first Brexit deadline, the number of passport applications from exceeded 11,000 in both months.

As the second Brexit deadline in October approached there was another surge from here to 7,208 applications.

Overall, more than 900,000 Irish passports were issued during 2019, a record number an increase of 63,000 on 2018.

Of those, 84,972 came from Dublin and 19,000 applications came from the six counties of Northern Ireland. Fermanagh was the county with the lowest number of passport applicants at 627.

The oldest online applicant was 101 and the youngest five days old.

The most popular baby girls’ names were Grace, Emily and Anna, while Jack, James and Noah topped the baby boys’ list.

The most popular surname worldwide on applications was Murphy.

There were more than 29,000 applications for Irish citizenship through Foreign Births Registration of which 16,000 were successfully completed.

Ireland’s Passport Office said it has significantly speeded up its turnaround times: five working days for simple renewals, ten working days for complex renewals and twenty working days for first-time applicants.

Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney said: ‘(Now) first-time applicants in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Great Britain and Europe can apply for their passports on-line. ‘Irish citizens, including children, can also renew their passports online 24/7, from anywhere in the world.’

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