Fine Gael Senator and Government spokesman on EU Affairs in the Seanad, Neale Richmond, has called on the Minister for Justice and Equality to review the citizenship application process in the wake of the Brexit vote. Senator Richmond was speaking on the Order of the Business today (Tuesday).
“Since the result of the Brexit Referendum, I have been inundated with queries from the Irish community in the UK, as well in the North’s Unionist constituency, asking about how to apply for an Irish passport.
“However, I have also received representations from many British citizens living here who, concerned about their soon to be changed status, have looked into applying for Irish citizenship, only to be dissuaded by the exorbitant cost of a citizenship application.
“An initial application fee of €175, is followed by a whopping fee of €950 for a successful citizenship application. These fees are some of the highest in the EU, being bested only by Austria.
“Over 300,000 British citizens live in Ireland and the vast majority qualify for citizenship based on heritage, marital status or length of residency.
“Many of these are now frantically weighing up their options, as we face into a period of negotiation and discussion.
“I think at this time it would be prudent for the Minister to review the whole process of applying for Irish citizenship. Great strides were made under the last Government in reducing the waiting time for applications and the introduction of citizenship ceremonies, but perhaps it might be time to also look at reducing the cost.”