I found this article illuminating:
The stampede for Irish passports since the UK voted to leave the EU has been widely interpreted as an effort by Britons to avoid hassle at airports. Produce proof of an Irish granny and voilà, no matter what happens with Brexit, you have a burgundy passport and can travel freely throughout the EU.
Applications for Irish passports have risen to record levels, with almost 250,000 requests since January, a 30% increase from the same period last year, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Of the 860,000 Irish passports issued last year, about 200,000 applications came from the UK.
The vast majority of those 200,000 British people applying for Irish passports haven’t the slightest interest in Ireland; they simply want the convenience of an EU passport. There was a time when citizenship actually meant something, and if you speak to Irish nationalists they insist it still does – although only in the very narrow sense of not being British. But now Irish citizenship is becoming something akin to a flag of convenience in the shipping world whereby the holder knows nothing about the country and cares even less. But whereas flags of convenience were sold as revenue-raisers by tax havens or failed states, Ireland seems almost proud to be handing out passports to those fleeing the horrors of non-Brexit Britain.
I supposed we shouldn’t be too surprised. Ireland sold its culture to corporations decades ago, proliferating around the world one fake pub with tin-whistle band at a time. I wrote about this here:
It’s interesting to note how St. Patrick’s day has become a meaningless excuse to get hammered while displaying just about every ignorant stereotype about Irish people you can imagine.
From what I can see, Ireland is fast becoming a meaningless blob of woke multiculturalism and supplicant internationalism with a fake green tinge. Their economy is based on giant foreign corporations paying little tax, and their prime minister is a gay man of Indian extraction. Their most important political decision in a generation, the lifting of the ban on abortions, had them throwing street parties. Not that there’s anything wrong with those per se – it’s up to the Irish how they run their affairs – but it does indicate they’ve abandoned conservatism and gone full-on liberal in the American sense. I’m not convinced this is a path to success, longevity, and happiness for any society.
What’s ironic is the Irish hate the English, particularly the London-based elites who look down their noses at everyone else. They complain the media reports clumsily on Ireland, except for the BBC who still think it’s part of Britain. Most of all, they detest the arrogant political classes who ride roughshod over ordinary people and are never held accountable for their actions. Which is fine, but they’ve now added Brexit to their list of gripes, as if it were the Westminster ruling classes who voted Leave and the ex-miners in the provinces who voted Remain. It’s an odd thing to hate the English elites for Brexit when it is they who’ve done all they can to scupper it. Indeed, the way things are going Theresa May might well turn out to be the most pro-Irish British prime minister in history.
This contradiction is illustrated further in the examples The Guardian uses of Brits who are looking to flee non-Brexit and settle in Ireland:
“I’m building up to be an Irish citizen, that’s the long-term goal,” said Keith Donaldson, 37, an office manager from Jarrow in north-east England who moved to Dublin last year.
He has no Irish lineage but can apply for naturalisation after five years’ residency. “Some things you can’t do unless you’re a citizen,” Donaldson said. “I’ve started getting involved in various political groups. It’s about contributing, being a member of Irish society. I identify myself as being a Brexit refugee.”
Remarkably, the Irish seem happy to welcome Englishmen whose views are indistinguishable from those of the Westminster elites to come and meddle in their politics before he’s even got citizenship. This is quite some shift in attitudes.
“Moving here gave me the possibility to be here long enough and apply for citizenship. I have to be here for five out of nine years,” said Alexandre de Menezes, 39, a dual British-Brazilian national who teaches soil microbiology at National University of Ireland Galway. “Being half British was always important to my identity, but Brexit took some of the shine away.”
So he was already in Ireland.
Kate Ryan, 40, a food writer from Bristol, married an Irish man and lived in Clonakilty, County Cork, for more than a decade without thinking much about nationality. Then came the referendum.
“It was always in the back of my mind that I would go for citizenship, but Brexit has forced my hand,” she said. This week, Ryan lodged an application for naturalisation. In the absence of Irish lineage, it entailed reams of paperwork and will cost about €1,500 (£1,285). “I decided to crack on and get this thing done.”
This is a paperwork exercise which she probably should have done anyway.
Ryan is proud of her British heritage and regularly visits her parents – who voted for Brexit – in Wales. But she feels European. Becoming Irish would underline that identity: “I see it as an opportunity to redefine who I am and my place in the world.”
So she wants to become an Irish citizen in order that she identifies with something else, and her place in the world is defined by the paperwork she holds. Being a member of a modern, western society seems to have a lot to do with worshiping political institutions and little to do with shared history and culture.
Mike Clarke, who recently left Brighton to take up a post as director of campus infrastructure at Trinity College Dublin, envisages putting down roots. “I plan to stay in Ireland as long as I can. UK plc will take an awful long time to heal,” he said.
Clarke, who grew up in Croydon, south London, has an Irish grandparent, so has a smooth path to citizenship. “I’m a very proud Englishman and British citizen. But I think of myself as European,” he said.
I’m a very proud Englishman and British citizen but I’ll become Irish via bureaucratic fiat because I think of myself as European. Personally I have no problem with Ireland inviting in people who want to dine at the smorgasbord of multicultural identity, I’m just not sure their society will be strengthened by their doing so.
Bill Foster, the managing director of the Irish division of the immigration consultancy Fragomen, said he probably would not stay long enough to obtain citizenship. But for now, he is glad to have swapped London for Dublin.
“There’s a feeling here that we want to move forward and not hanker back to the past. Living here has made me feel more European in many ways,” he said.
I find it hard to believe he found London a hotbed of English nationalist Brexiteers, so what I think what he’s saying is, having moved from London to Dublin, he’s noticed he’s now living among a lot more Europeans.
What’s obvious from all this is the Irish professional classes have a lot more in common with the English professional classes than they think, and the Irish ruling classes aren’t a whole lot different from those who are squatting in Westminster. It’s only the fault lines of history that are preventing them seeing where the real divides are.