Over 10,000 become naturalised Irish citizens

File photo

More than 10,000 people became naturalised Irish citizens last year, as new figures also revealed a rise in the number of people issued passports, particularly from the UK.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said 10,158 people, including 3,136 children, were granted Irish citizenship in 2018. It means more than 120,000 have been granted citizenship here since the introduction of citizenship ceremonies in 2011.

The figures show 67% of naturalised citizens in 2018 were between the ages of 25 and 45. Naturalised citizens over the age of 55 made up just 11% of the new citizens last year.

There has also been an increase in the number of applications on hand from UK nationals. In 2015, just 41 UK nationals obtained Irish citizenship, whereas the figure was 665 in 2018.

UK nationals also tend to be among the oldest applying for Irish citizenship, at an average age of 56.

There was also a rise of 22% in the number of applications for an Irish passport by British nationals last year, with the Department of Foreign Affairs expecting another busy year this year with Brexit due in March.

More than 822,000 Irish passports were issued in the past year, up around 43,000 from 2017, and of those, 98,544 applications were received from Britain. Another 84,855 were from Northern Ireland, a rise of 3% compared with the 2017 figure.

Anyone with a grandparent born on the island of Ireland can apply for an Irish passport. Of the passports issued, 529,673 were to adults and 292,908 were provided for children. The oldest recipient was aged 99 and the youngest was just two weeks old.

As for citizenship, Mr Flanagan said: “Each of our new citizens has an important contribution to make to all areas of our society. They have chosen to take this step in recognition of the new lives that they have built here in Ireland.

“Receiving their Irish citizenship does not lessen the diversity of their backgrounds or the importance of their heritage. We look forward to all that they can add to the richness of our culture as part of their continued integration into our communities right across the country.”

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