Irish passport applications averaged 3,000 every day this year ahead of Brexit

Officials expect around 5,000 people to apply online during St Patrick’s weekend

Rebecca Black
Saturday 16 March 2019 10:56 GMT
Tony Blair says hard border in Ireland inevitable in no-deal Brexit

There has been almost a quarter of a million applications for Irish passports in less than three months, with more than 3,000 people on average applying every day so far this year.

Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney said more than 230,000 applications have been received to date this year.

The figures mean there have been two applications every minute on average.

Mr Coveney said the figures represent a 30 per cent increase on the same period last year.

It comes after 2018 proved to be a record year with the highest number (860,000) of Irish passports ever issued.

Mr Coveney’s department said more than 70 per cent of the 2018 applications came from the island of Ireland.

The department also revealed it is expecting a further spike this weekend.

During St Patrick’s weekend in 2018, more than 2,500 people applied for an Irish passport online – and based on current trends, officials are expecting that number to double this year.

The figures come ahead of the final weeks before the date the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union.

Last month, the passport division of the Irish embassy in London warned it is “stretched and working under pressure”, and that staffing levels “are not sufficient” to meet the rising number of applications ahead of Brexit.

Irish comedian Chris O’Dowd predicted in February that scores of Britons will be looking for Irish passports after 29 March.

However, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade put the spike in applications down to an increase in travelling and a tendency towards early renewal.

Mr Coveney said extra resources have been allocated to the passport service.

“Given the demand we are experiencing, significant extra resources have been given to the passport service including hundreds of extra staff for processing and customer service,” he said.

Press Association

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