Passport office recruiting extra staff to deal with post-Brexit demand

Applications from Britain and Northern Ireland up 77% and 71% respectively this year

Department of Foreign Affairs has said it is reasonable to assume Brexit has lead to an increase in passport applications from the UK. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Department of Foreign Affairs has said it is reasonable to assume Brexit has lead to an increase in passport applications from the UK. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The passport office is recruiting more staff to deal with an increase in applications from Britain and Northern Ireland following the Brexit referendum.

Passport applications from Northern Ireland were up 77 per cent in 2017 on the same period last year while applications from Britain were up 71 per cent.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it does not compile information on why citizens apply for passports but “it is reasonable to assume, based on the trends in applications from Northern Ireland and Great Britain, that the outcome of the UK referendum on EU membership is one of the factors that has led to an increase in demand”.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said early indicators show the increased demand for passports is likely to be sustained.

“We are in the course of delivering a major passport reform programme which will ensure significant customer service improvements to benefit citizens in the near future,” he said.

“In the short-term, to respond to the increase in demand, the passport service is recruiting over 230 temporary clerical officers, over half of which are already in place.”

Earlier this month Monaghan-based Fianna Fáil Senator Robbie Gallagher said public representatives in Border counties have noticed “a huge number of inquiries from citizens living in the North about how to get an Irish passport.

“We believe it is timely to make the case to locate a passport office in a place like County Monaghan that would look after the northern part of our country,” he said.

In December, Mr Flanagan said there was about a 10 per cent increase in demand for passports in 2016 compared with 2015.

“The number of passports issued in 2015 was 672,760. The number of passports issued to December 13th, 2016, is 719,675. It is projected that by the end of 2016 the passport service will issue almost 740,000 passports.

“This would represent an increase in applications of 10 per cent on 2015. Underlying demand for passports in 2016 was already running at an increase of over 9 per cent on 2015 before the Brexit referendum. This was in part driven by an increase in outbound travel, the Euros 2016 as well as a spike in applications in 2006 feeding through in the ten year renewal cycle.”