More Scots apply for Irish citizenship

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Applications for Irish citizenship from Scotland have substantially increased since the Brexit referendum.

Figures from the Irish consulate show that in the first 10 months of this year there have been 847 applications, 19 times as many as there were in 2013.

This was when Prime Minister David Cameron promised an in/out referendum on EU membership.

The applications are from people with at least one grandparent born in Ireland.

Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond is his party's spokesman on European affairs in the Seanad.

He has emphasised that all those entitled to apply are welcome to do so.

"We hope that everyone who's entitled to Irish citizenship takes it," he said.

They are very, very welcome - if they want to move back to Ireland, that's great. But there's no reason for them to have to move to Ireland."

Figures from the Irish consulate show there were:

  • 45 applications for citizenship from Scotland in 2013
  • 56 applications in 2014
  • 71 applications in 2015
  • 389 applications in 2016
  • 762 applications in 2017

With the figures for the first 10 months of this year available, there have been 847 applications from Scotland.

While some of those applying have cited freedom of movement within the EU as one of their motivations, Senator Richmond said the symbolic act of claiming a link with Ireland is just as important.

He urged people to "take the passport, be part of the global diaspora", adding: "Ireland has a population of just five million, with a global diaspora of 72 million. It's something we're really proud of."

Analysis by Glenn Campbell, BBC Scotland chief political correspondent

If you have an Irish grandparent, you can apply for citizenship by having your name added to the register of foreign births.

It is applications of this sort from residents in Scotland that are almost 19 times higher in the first ten months of this year compared to 2013.

These figures don't include those who might have a parent born on the island of Ireland and therefore a more direct route to establishing their Irish citizenship.

You need citizenship in order to apply for an Irish passport.

For many, Ireland is their insurance policy - a way of guaranteeing EU freedom of movement rights in the future, regardless of how Brexit turns out.

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