There has been a surge in applications for Irish passports from British citizens as the fallout from Brexit continues.
Britain’s vote to leave the EU has prompted thousands of British people of Irish descent to apply for Irish passports as they want to continue to enjoy the freedoms of being an EU citizen.
Applications for Irish passports more than doubled last month in comparison to the same period last year.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny believes the trend will continue as the effects of Brexit begin to take place and British people will find themselves needing a visa to work, or maybe even travel, in mainland Europe.
The EU is considering adding new requirements to non-EU visitors who wish to cross EU borders. These could include having to register online before entering the Schengen area – that is the majority of mainland Europe. This could cost up to €60.
British Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said that this can’t be ruled out.
Mr Kenny told the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk: “That’s going to mean a spike in applications for Irish passports.
“The Irish Ambassador in Britain has confirmed to me a doubling of the numbers over the past couple of months. That kind of comment and that kind of paper being prepared will mean a further spike in applications for Irish passports.”
The EU has a visa-waiver arrangement in place many countries including the US and Australia. However, under the new proposals, citizens from these countries may also still have to register before visiting the Schengen area.
As Ireland is not in the Schengen area it is unclear whether the proposals will affect non EU citizens visiting Ireland – or even if the proposals will actually ever come into effect.
However, things are up in the air at the moment and it is causing confusion for many people in Britain.
Mr Kenny said that Brexit had created a ‘mess of complete confusion for hundreds of thousands of people’.
He said that after speaking with British Prime Minister Teresa May, he feels that the British need time to figure out exactly what it is that they want.
He said: “They don’t have a definite horizon as to where they want to be. The best place that Britain could be is to have access to the single market, as is now.
“If you want to have access to the single market, you must accept freedom of movement (to and from other EU countries).
Mr Kenny added that many eventualities are possible at this juncture and that the potential for Brexit to pave the way for a united Ireland must be catered for.
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling