An increasing number of Britons are applying for Irish passports to be able to keep their EU citizenship once the UK leaves the bloc next year.
On Monday, Ireland’s foreign office said the number of British citizens applying for Irish passports went up by 22% in 2018, more than double the total number of annual applications registered in 2015, a year before the Brexit vote.
A total of 84,855 applications for Irish passports have been from the North and 98,544 from Great Britain so far this year.
“We’re anticipating a significant increase again in terms of the number of people in Britain applying for Irish passports. Clearly, if there was a no-deal Brexit, that may well be a significant figure,” said Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney (pictured below).
“We have to anticipate and prepare for that, and we are,” Coveney added.
British citizens who have been born in the Irish Republic or Northern Ireland or those with an Irish parent or grandparent are entitled to an Irish passport.
The UK is officially set to leave the EU next March amid a mayhem surrounding the exit deal that has raised the possibility of a no-deal divorce or even a cancellation of the whole thing.
Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to put her Brexit deal to a vote in the House of Commons in mid-January.
She delayed an original vote planned for earlier this month as she faced growing criticism from across the political spectrum about the deal.
However, many believe the agreement, signed off in an EU summit last month, has a little chance of going through the Parliament.
May has repeatedly said that Brexit will be delayed or cancelled if the Commons rejects the agreement. Both she and the EU have touted the deal as the only and best option available for Britain.