Record 733,060 Irish passports issued last year
Brexit vote led to 41% rise in applications from Britain and 27% rise from North
The Department of Foreign Affairs reported 67,972 passport applications from people in Northern Ireland and another 64,996 from people with Irish roots in Britain last year. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Demand for Irish travel documents hit new heights last year following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union with more than 733,000 passports issued.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said there were a number of reasons behind the surge but noted that in the months after the Brexit vote saw a 41 per cent increase in applications from Britain and a 27 per cent rise from Northern Ireland.
The department reported 67,972 applications from people in Northern Ireland and another 64,996 from people with Irish roots in Britain last year.
Diplomatic staff in Dublin were forced to issue an appeal for calm in the days following the Brexit vote in June after post offices ran out of passport application forms because of an initial surge.
Anyone born on the island of Ireland or whose parents are Irish automatically qualifies for citizenship.
Other factorsMr Flanagan said other factors that played a role in the record 733,060 passports being issued were both Irish sides reaching the European Championships in France, more holidaymakers going abroad and high levels of renewals arising from a major spike in applications in 2006.
Outside of Dublin, the biggest demand for passports came at the consulate in New York from where 7,205 were issued. In Canberra in Australia, there were more than 490 applications for passports for infants with a further 300 applications for under threes in Abu Dhabi.
A total of 24,443 passport cards, a credit-card sized travel document which is valid for travelling to 30 European countries, were issued last year.
The passport office’s figures for 2016 showed May was the busiest month as close to 100,000 applications came in. There were also surges in August, October and November. – (PA)