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    Desperate Brits Looking to Stay in EU Send Irish Passport Office Into Overdrive

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    The passport office in Dublin, Ireland has been forced to hire additional staff due to the huge increase in the number of applications from Britain and Northern Ireland due to Brexit.

    It was reported by the Irish government that there was a 74 percent increase in the number of British and Northern Irish citizens applying for passports in January 2017 versus the same month a year earlier. 

    According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, in January this year, over 7,000 people from Northern Ireland applied for an Irish passport, up from 3,973 in the same month last year. There were also close to 6,000 applications from Britain last month.

    It comes as questions are asked around the planned Brexit negotiations and concerns grow that UK passport holders will lose benefits like freedom to work anywhere in the union, in the wake of the country's exit.

    UK Brexit minister David Davis, said this week that he expects the government to meet its March 2017 deadline to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, starting the formal exit negotiation process.

    Since Britain voted to leave the EU, various sectors of society have had to start changing policies and systems. The Irish Passport Office is one example of this and they have had to recruit 230 temporary staff.

    The Irish embassy in London has also confirmed the surge in passports from numerous Brits.

    "We have seen a huge increase in the number of people in Britain applying for Irish passports since the Brexit vote. Our Passport office is dealing with the workload and will have to hire more staff," a spokesperson for the Irish embassy in London told Sputnik. 

    ​Charlie Flanagan, Ireland's Foreign Affairs Minister, said an online adult passport renewal system will be rolled out before the end of March to cope with the demand.

    "Early indicators in 2017 are showing that increased demand for [Irish] passports is likely to be sustained, certainly in the immediate future. I am carefully monitoring passport services," Mr. Flanagan said.

    Ireland has become the ideal location for Brits who want to keep an EU passport, once the UK leaves the bloc. Anyone who has a parent or grandparent born in Ireland is entitled to an Irish passport. 

    According to figures published by Irish news outlet RTE, in 2016 alone, passport applications from Britain increased by over 40 percent.    

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    Hard Brexit, Article 50, Brexit, negotiations, passport, European Union, David Davis, Europe, Britain, United Kingdom, Ireland
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