For the first time more Irish Passports issued in Northern Ireland than UK ones…

Brian Hutton at the Irish Times has been doing some digging about the changing nature of passports in Northern Ireland. From his article:

The number of Irish passports being issued in the North has surpassed their UK counterparts for the first time on record, newly obtained figures reveal.

Her Majesty’s Passport Office in London has confirmed 48,555 citizens in Northern Ireland applied for a UK passport in 2020 – at least 356 fewer than those who opted for an Irish passport the same year (48,911).

Official figures on Irish passports in the region are only available for those issued through Northern Ireland Passport Express (NIPX), available through post offices, and do not include citizens who apply for their passports directly from Dublin.

The year after the UK opted to pull out of the EU in the Brexit referendum marked a sharp turn towards people in the North preferring to travel on Irish passports.

Figures for 2021 – as Northern Ireland commemorated its centenary amid plane-grounding travel restrictions as a result of the pandemic – show UK passport applications (63,774) eclipsed Irish passports (56,709) again.

However, available data for this year, as international travel restrictions are lifted, suggest a potential shift under way.

In January, London processed 6,148 UK passport applications for the North, an average of 198 a day.

Applications for an Irish passport, through NIPX and online only, numbered 24,643 during January and February – or 419 every day, more than double the UK passport figure.

As the article says the main driver is Brexit. Who wants to stand like an eijit in the non-EU passport queue? Also as we have dual nationality in Northern Ireland so quite a few people have both passports.

Yet more evidence that backing Brexit will go down in history as the biggest own goal for the DUP…

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