How’s this for a post-Brexit eye roll:
Northern Ireland politician Ian Paisley Jr., son of the late unionist firebrand Dr. Ian Paisley, is advising his constituents to apply for a passport from the Republic of Ireland following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
“My advice is if you are entitled to second passport then take one,” Paisley tweeted the day after the referendum vote. “I sign off lots of applications for constituents.”
Paisley, a British MP from North Antrim, opposed the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, though his father became first minister of the power-sharing government it created. Now, Junior–who campaigned for Brexit–opposes calls by Irish republicans to politically reunite the island of Ireland and remain in the EU.
An Irish passport confers the holder with travel and work privileges within the 27-nation EU, which the UK has now voted to leave. People born in any of Ireland’s 32 counties, north or south, or those with a parent or grandparent born on the island, are eligible to apply for a passport from the Republic.
“An unnecessary surge in applications for Irish passports will place significant pressure on the system and on turnaround times and is likely to impact those with a genuine need for passports to facilitate imminent travel plans,” Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said in statement. The ministry issued an updated FAQ on Irish citizenship, passports and residency requirements.
The post-Brexit rush on Irish passports follows a 14 percent increase in applications by U.S. citizens since last summer, which some news accounts have attributed to Donald Trump’s hold on the GOP presidential nomination.
Glad I claimed my Irish citizenship and passport 19 years ago.