Republic of Ireland news

Record number of Irish passports issued in 2017

The number of Irish passports issued in 2017 was the highest ever in one year
John Monaghan

A RECORD number of Irish passports were issued this year, surpassing the previous mark set in 2016.

Simon Coveney, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, announced yesterday that more than 779,000 passports were issued in the past 12 months.

Almost one in five applications were from Irish citizens living in the north or Britain.

Mr Coveney said: "This is the highest number of Irish passports ever issued in one year. It represents an increase of over 6% compared to 2016 (itself a record-breaking year), and an increase of over 15% since 2015."

More than 733,000 passports were issued in 2016, a year which saw the Brexit vote and the participation of both Irish soccer sides at the European Championships in France.

In March, a new online passport renewal service was launched with more than 100,000 applications processed in the following nine months, with no requirement for "forms, witnesses or printed photos".

More than 38,000 Irish citizens also availed of the world-first Passport Card, a credit-card sized document which was introduced in 2016 and allows travel to all EU and EEA countries as well as Switzerland.

The Irish Consulate in New York retained its top spot as the embassy or consulate which saw the highest number of passport applications, with more than 6,000 this year, followed by the Australian capital Canberra.

Based on passport applications for children, Jack was the most popular boy's name in 2017 and Emily for girls.

Anyone born on the island of Ireland or whose parents are Irish automatically qualifies for citizenship.

Diplomatic staff in Dublin were forced to issue an appeal for calm in the days following the Brexit vote after post offices ran out of Irish passport application forms because of an initial surge.

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