Friday 28 April 2017

Brexit overtime boost for passport staff

Overall, 64,943 passport applications were made by people living in Northern Ireland in 2016 (Stock picture)
Overall, 64,943 passport applications were made by people living in Northern Ireland in 2016 (Stock picture)
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

Brexit has provided an unlikely cash bonanza for civil servants working in our Passport Office.

Unprecedented demand for Irish citizenship has pushed overtime payments to an historic high.

It emerged last week that a record 740,000 Irish passports were issued in 2016.

Now, new figures obtained by the Sunday Independent show the knock-on overtime bill for the year was €392,000 - up by a whopping 40pc on the previous 12 months.

It meant that one civil servant bagged an extra €15,118 on top of their normal annual salary.

Official records show that this is the single largest overtime payment recorded within the passport section over the past six years. In 2015, the total overtime bill was €233,000; in 2014 it stood at €261,000; while in 2013 the figure was just €87,000.

Meanwhile, the Brexit result on June 23 also dramatically boosted 'fee receipts' for the government last year, with the passport authorities raking in €43.9m, or €130,729 a day, in charges.

This compares with €42m in 2015. In 2011, the corresponding figure stood at €35.8m.

Official records also reveal the total number of UK residents seeking Irish citizenship hit an historic high over the past 12 months.

In 2011, 42,104 people applied for a passport; but this figure rocketed to 61,282 in the wake of the shock Brexit vote.

Overall, 64,943 passport applications were made by people living in Northern Ireland in 2016.

The passport office has had its busiest year on record, hiring 350 extra staff at peak times, to deal with unprecedented demand.

The passport service has offices in Dublin, Balbriggan and Cork.

Sunday Independent

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