Sunday 4 December 2016

Online searches for Irish ancestry up by one-fifth with users keen to learn if they qualify for EU passport

David Young

Published 05/07/2016 | 02:30

Anyone born on the island of Ireland or whose parents are Irish automatically qualifies for
citizenship. GETTY
Anyone born on the island of Ireland or whose parents are Irish automatically qualifies for citizenship. GETTY

Online family ancestry searches have spiked following the EU referendum, with users apparently keen to learn if they qualify for an EU Irish passport.

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Genealogy website Ancestry has reported a 40pc surge in new trial memberships in the week since the UK voted to leave the European Union, with daily searches of the site's Irish records up by 20pc. The figures come after a deluge of new applications for Irish passports from eligible UK citizens concerned that freedom of movement in the EU might be restricted after Brexit.

Anyone born on the island of Ireland or whose parents are Irish automatically qualifies for citizenship. In some cases, those who have an Irish grandparent can also apply.

The Department of Foreign Affairs last week appealed for calm after a surge in Irish passport applications in the wake of the referendum result.

Sue Moncur, Ancestry UK country manager, said: "Since the referendum we have seen the rate of new UK users signing up for free trials to investigate their family history go up 40pc.

"At the same time we have seen a strong rise in interest in our Irish record collections, with daily searches for Irish records up 20pc since the referendum.

"The question of British identity has been brought into focus for many because of the referendum. The spike in interest in people investigating their family history is likely linked to that, alongside a more general curiosity about European or international identity."

Irish Independent

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