Over 400,000 NI People Claim 'Dual' Passports

Almost half a million Northern Ireland resident have claimed dual passports in the last 10 years.

The Irish Government has revealed that around 402,658 citizens from the North have claimed, or renewed, Republic passports since the inception of the Good Friday Agreement, in 1998.

All Northern Ireland residents are entitled to hold both British and Irish passports, a right underlined under the terms of the Agreement.

Since 2002 the number of applications for Irish passports has doubled, with over 60,000 seeking the document in 2007.

Pasty McGlone, an SDLP member of the Northern Ireland devolved government at Stormont, said there is "large and growing number of people who wanted to take advantage of their right to an Irish passport".

The MLA told the BBC: "It does seem that people believe the Irish passport is popular and safe to travel on.

"Pensioners are also taking advantage of the free Irish passports available to them."

Citizens from the unionist community have been among those claiming Republic passports "because the country's traditional neutrality made it a safer passport to travel on", according to Mr McGlone.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs said: "The majority of Northern Ireland applications are made using the Northern Ireland Express Post Service (NIPX) which is available in some 70 Post Offices throughout the area."


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