Photo taken on Sept. 10, 2018 shows people lining up at the entrance of the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service building in Dublin, Ireland. (Xinhua)
DUBLIN, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- The number of British nationals becoming Irish citizens stood at 529 persons in 2017, more than five times higher than the figure of 98 recorded in the previous year, reported local media on Sunday.
The Irish Times, a local daily newspaper, quoted Senator Neale Richmon of the Irish parliament as saying that the 2016 number of British nationals giving up their citizenship for Irish passports was almost doubled than the 2015 figure which stood at 54.
"Such a spike is clearly tied to the Brexit referendum and the uncertainty that has prevailed since the vote," said Richmon, who is the chairman of the Senate's special committee on Brexit.
Britain held a referendum on Brexit in June 2016 which voted in favour of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union (EU).
Richmon said that many British who had applied for Irish citizenship had done so because they were "very worried that they would find themselves high and dry" after Britain leaves the EU next March.
According to Richmon, there are over 300,000 British nationals living in Ireland and many of them have showed strong and growing interest in applying for the Irish citizenship even though the cost of such an application is around 1,100 euros (1,270 U.S. dollars), the second highest of its kind in the EU after Austria.