Sunday 18 February 2018

Brexit surge: Number of Irish passports issued in 2017 'will pass one million mark'

Charlie Flanagan Picture: Tom Burke
Charlie Flanagan Picture: Tom Burke

Gordon Deegan

The number of Irish passports to be issued this year is set to pass the one million mark, driven by a Brexit surge in passport applications from Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

This follows the Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan confirming that 250,000 applications have been received for the first quarter of this year - a 26pc increase on the same period for last year.

The first quarter of this year coincided with the UK government taking significant steps towards Brexit and the Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed the number of Irish passport applications from those born in Great Britain between January and the end of March increased by 69pc on the corresponding period last year to 23,181.

The number of passport applications from people born in Great Britain for the first quarter of this year is almost half the 48,741 to have applied for Irish passport for the entire of 2016.

Similarly, applications for Irish passports from those born in Northern Ireland increased by 68pc going from 16,581 in the first quarter of last year to 27,898 applications this year, which followed on from the 91,448 applications from Northern Ireland-born passport applicants last year.

Last year, the Department of Foreign Affairs issued 733,060 passports, which represented a 9pc increase on 2015 and the projected one million passport applications follows last year's Census confirming Ireland has a population of 4.76m.

The number of passports issued last year created a €46.74m bonanza for the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Last year, it cost the department €31.63m to operate the passport service.

This included the department employing 233 temporary clerical officers, which was an increase of 62 compared to 2015.

The number of full-time equivalent staff operating the passport service totals 301.

Irish Independent

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