Sunday 18 November 2018

Surge in UK searches for info on Irish passports and citizenship since Brexit


Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

There has been a surge in UK-based web users seeking information on issues such as Irish citizenship and passports since the Brexit vote.

The Citizens Information Board (CIB) has reported that 17pc - almost one in five visits - to its website over the past 12 months is from the UK.

There have been more than 250,000 page views on the section of its website entitled 'Irish citizenship through birth or descent'.

And 15 of the top 25 searches by UK-based visitors to the website relate to how to get Irish citizenship or a passport.

Figures provided by the CIB show that the number of people in the UK viewing pages on its website grew by more than 66pc between 2015 - the year before the Brexit vote - and 2017.

In the last 12 months 253,000 UK users viewed the section on 'Irish citizenship through birth or descent'.

A total of 175,900 also visited the 'Applying for your first Irish Passport' page.

Meanwhile, 65,400 looked at the 'Irish Citizenship page' and 57,800 viewed the explanation for 'Who can become an Irish Citizen?'.

British people can apply for citizenship if they have a grandparent who was born in Ireland and there has been a marked increase in the number of Irish passports issued to UK residents.

The CIB also said more than 60pc of Brexit-related queries to its network of Citizens Information Service offices relate to UK pension entitlements and other social security payments, though the numbers are low compared to the web traffic.

In 2017, 134,840 recipients of the UK state pension were resident in Ireland.

The CIB anticipates a "major increase" in the demand for information once the final Brexit deal emerges, particularly in Border areas.

Chief executive Angela Black said: "We can see that Brexit is already raising lots of questions for people, so we are working on information responses that will help people to understand any changes and to know their rights and entitlements."

Irish Independent

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