IRISH passport applications could take up to seven weeks to process following a surge in the number of British people applying for the document.
On March 30 Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) updated their website, stating that the average turnaround time for a first time application in Dublin is 20 days or four weeks.
The Irish Embassy in London has said that applicants should now allow seven weeks rather than six for their papers to be processed via its Cromwell Road office.
The Irish Post reported last month that figures released by the DFA for passport applications showed that 4,243 people received the Irish travel and identification document in 2015 – 488 more than the previous year.
Last year 507 British citizens, entitled to apply for an Irish passport through the granny rule, applied to the Irish Government for a passport.
This is up from 379 in 2014 – an increase of 33 per cent or 128 applications.
The figures also show an increase in the number of second generation British citizens applying for passports – up from 3,376 in 2014 to last year’s 3,736.
Irish Post readers shared their mixed experiences via Facebook of applying through the Irish Passport Office in London.
Ronán O hEochaigh said: “Six weeks and dire service. They don’t know how to answer phones. Atrocious service for the Irish. Australians’ is within six days in London.”
In contrast, Sue McCabe said: “It was very easy for my husband, we had a passport delivered to him in Exeter, Devon within two weeks of applying.”
Britain’s referendum on its EU membership, set for June 23, may be a reason for the surge of interest, with eligible Britons wanting to retain an EU passport in the event of Brexit.
But the DFA has said that they cannot attribute changes in the volume of passport applications to any particular issue.
Applications from the North of Ireland using the Passport Express service – which is offered across 70 post offices – can take up to 15 working days.
A similar Passport Express service is only offered at two British post offices – Liverpool (1-3 south John Street) and Glasgow (140 West Nile Street).
Automatic Irish citizenship is offered to anyone whose mother or father is an Irish citizen, regardless of where they were born.
People whose grandparents were born in Ireland can gain Irish citizenship by descent – provided their births have been recorded in Ireland’s Foreign Births Register.
It has been estimated that as many as six million Britons can claim Irish citizenship through their grandparents, according to The Irish Times.
In the North of Ireland people have the same rights as those in the Republic to claiming Irish citizenship.