Brexit anger drove John le Carre to Irish citizenship

Dublin (AFP) –


British spy author John le Carre became an Irish citizen shortly before he died last year, driven by his animosity towards Britain's decision to leave the European Union, UK media reported Thursday.

"He was, by the time he died, an Irish citizen," the novelist's son Nick Cornwell told the BBC.

"One of the last photographs I have is of him sitting wrapped in an Irish flag, grinning his head off."

Cornwell told the British state broadcaster his father -- who died aged 89 -- visited his grandmother's native city of Cork in Ireland and experienced an "emotional shift".

EU member Ireland allows individuals with Irish parents or grandparents to claim citizenship, and there has been a boom in applications since Britain's 2016 referendum decision to split from the EU.

John le Carre -- a former British intelligence officer whose real name was David Cornwell -- wrote 25 novels and one memoir in a career spanning six decades, selling 60 million books worldwide.

His intricate espionage novels are celebrated for weaving morally shady worlds inhabited by compromised characters and corrupting institutions.

His writing chronicled post-empire Britain from the Cold War until the present day and did not shy from scathing criticism.

An avowed Europhile, he was also an outspoken critic of Brexit, and at the last general election in 2019 told AFP that Britons should "join the resistance" against Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

"My England would be the one that recognises its place in the EU," he told a US interviewer in 2017.

"The jingoistic England that is trying to march us out of the EU -- that is an England I don't want to know."