City councillor applies for Irish passport to beat Brexit

A pro-European councillor is applying for an Irish passport – despite never setting foot on the Emerald Isle.

Airyhall, Broomhill and Garthdee councillor Ian Yuill, who also serves as the Liberal Democrat group leader, has applied for dual nationality based on his grandfather being from Londonderry in Northern Ireland.

He hopes to be able to continue travelling around the EU unhindered after Brexit, when free movement is expected to end.

Under current rules, Irish citizenship can be obtained through descent from Irish grandparents. If one of your grandparents is an Irish citizen who was born in Ireland, but neither of your parents was born in Ireland, you can still become an Irish citizen.

People born in Northern Ireland can choose to be either British or Irish citizens, or both.

Mr Yuill, of Aberdeen, said he had sent his application and was waiting on a response from Dublin authorities.

He added that his grandfather was more comfortable with a British rather than Irish identity and would have called it Londonderry rather than Derry- a sticking point between the two communities.

Speaking to Monday’s full council meeting on business rates on fish processors, he started a speech telling other councillors about his position. He said he would “fortunately still be an EU citizen after March 2019, because I’m also Irish, although I’ve never actually been to the place”.

Mr Yuill told the Press and Journal: “It is an option that I am lucky to have given that one of my grandparents was born on the island of Ireland, so that would mean I would continue to enjoy the full benefits of remaining in the EU.”

He added that the national Liberal Democrat policy was for another vote on whether to stay in the EU once the Brexit deal was known.

And his Liberal Democrat council colleague Martin Greig said last night he had earlier in the year applied for an Italian passport because he had previously lived there for four years.

However, Mr Greig has been unsuccessful in his attempt given that he no longer lives in the country.

He added: “We are proud to be Europeans and want to continue to enjoy the advantages of the EU.”