Britain’s decision to leave the European Union on Thursday appears to have resulted in a massive rush for Irish passports — and demand is outweighing supply.
Ireland’s EU status, of course, is not affected by Thursday’s Brexit vote, and many Britons will see it as the next best option to a UK that is not in the EU.
Dan Whitehead, a news correspondent for TV networks, tweeted on Tuesday: “Official at Irish Passport Office in London tells me they are forecasting 1 million new passport applications (total)
The news follows an announcement by Google Trends on Friday that searches for “how to get an Irish passport” spiked by over 100% just after the referendum result was announced.
But the demand is not just related to England: a post office just over the border in Belfast, Northern Ireland — which, like Scotland, voted overwhelming to stay in the EU — reported running out of Irish passports, forcing it to put up an apology notice :
Irish passport demand has reached such a critical mass that Ireland’s foreign minister Charlie Flanagan has asked Britons to stop making applications to avoid overwhelming the consular offices:
“The increased interest clearly points to a sense of concern among some UK passport holders that the rights they enjoy as EU citizens are about to abruptly end. I want to state clearly that this is not the case.”
But it may be a while before new Irish citizens will need to move there. According to a constitutional expert, Article 50 — the mechanism under the Lisbon Treaty in which a country tells the European Union it is leaving the bloc and thereby gives a two-year notice period — is unlikely to be triggered until well after a General Election.
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