More than one million people born outside the State have applied for an Irish passport since 2016
New figures show over a million people born outside Ireland have applied for an Irish passport over the past six years.
While the UK accounts for over half a million applications, there has also been a surge in demand from non-Irish applicants in the US, Australia, South Africa, and Canada.
It’s no surprise there has been a clamour for our passports. Ireland overtook the UK this year in the Passport Index to become the joint third most powerful passport in the world, alongside nations such as the US, Norway, and New Zealand.
The interactive passport ranking tool run by Arton Capital (which categorises 193 UN member countries and six territories) places the UK joint fourth in the power rankings.
Ireland only requires a visa for entry into 26 countries, while the UK needs a visa for 27 countries. The UAE leads the power rankings, only requiring a visa for entry to 18 countries.
Non-Irish applicants whose grandparents were born in Ireland or whose parents were Irish citizens at the time of their birth can apply to become Irish citizens through foreign birth registration.
This year to date there were 15,000 applications, compared to 8,000 in 2016, the year of the Brexit vote in Britain.
Applications for an Irish passport for people born outside of Ireland in the UK went from just over 51,400 in 2016 to over 90,800 this year to date.
US applications went from over 14,600 to over 20,200 to date this year, while Canadian applications nearly doubled from just over 2,500 in 2016 to over 4,100 to date.
Since 2016 there has been an overall rising trend of applications from people born outside Ireland, with numbers rising from 112,000 in 2016 to nearly 180,000 this year to date, which is a 60pc increase.
Ireland’s neutrality is also thought to be one of the reasons why citizenship is seen to be a valuable rite of passage around the world.
In recent weeks a US teacher called Timothy Morales, who found himself trapped in Kherson last March when Russians invaded the city, feared being detained for being American.
Two months into the occupation, when an officer from Russia’s Federal Security Service called to his apartment in the bombed Ukrainian city, he said he was an Irishman teaching English in the city. Satisfied by his explanation, the secret police left.
Hrant Boghossian, the co-founder of the Passport Index, said a country’s foreign policy reflects directly on its people when they travel abroad.
“Ireland is famed for being a neutral country in international relations. This undoubtedly improves the standing of its passport internationally — as few, if any, countries will have historical arguments or conflicts souring relations with Ireland.
“Travellers from neutral countries like Ireland are afforded more trust and their passports get relatively higher respect — hence fewer visa requirements.”
He said another key benefit of Irish citizenship is the government here allows dual citizenship. “An Irish passport can be held alongside a second passport that provides benefits that an Irish passport may not. This is a hidden power held by the passport that other high-ranking passports do not possess,” Mr Boghossian said.