Saturday 24 June 2017

Mary Kenny: Kiss me, I'm (now) Irish

There are mílte more Irish people to fáilte this St Patrick's Day

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

Our St Patrick's Day duties could be more onerous this year: a personal fáilte is surely due to the many individuals who have chosen to become Irish over the past nine months. I'm talking about those people who seldom previously thought of themselves as Irish who have applied for an Irish passport since the Brexit vote on June 23, 2016.

In January, applications from Northern Ireland and the UK were up 77pc and 71pc respectively, compared with the same month last year. The Department of Foreign Affairs has hired 200 extra staff to deal with the demand.

I have relations and friends - don't we all? - who suddenly remember they had an Irish granny, and, for fear of encountering problems after Britain leaves the EU, are obtaining an Irish passport. One of them - a veteran journalist friend in Vienna, Ed Steen - is particularly pleased: his great-grandfather was a hellfire (Unionist) preacher in Armagh and he delights in the neat irony that history unfolds.

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