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Number of Irish passports issued this year fell by 60%

The most popular baby girls’ names were Olivia, Mia and Saoirse, while Noah, Adam and Cillian topped the baby boys’ list.
Dec 28th 2020, 6:10 AM 18,498 14

THE PASSPORT SERVICE issued more than 400,000 Irish passports this year – a 60% drop of the number issued in 2019, when almost a million passports were issued.

The oldest online applicant was 100 and the youngest just two weeks old.

The most popular baby girls’ names were Olivia, Mia and Saoirse, while Noah, Adam and Cillian topped the baby boys’ list. The most popular surname worldwide was Murphy.

As in previous years, there were a significant number of applicants from Northern Ireland and Great Britain; with over 45,000 first-time applications received from these regions.

For those who applied for a passport through Embassies and Consulates abroad, the cities which received the most applications were Pretoria, New York, San Francisco, Abu Dhabi, Canberra, Ottawa, Chicago, Sydney, Paris and Washington. 

Despite the introduction of unprecedented travel restrictions in 2020, there was still some demand for Irish passports (particularly those living overseas), and Passport Office officials were kept busy responding to the demands caused by the pandemic.

To help the State’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department of Foreign Affairs said that Passport Service staff were “critical” in assisting our citizens abroad through consular assistance during the early stages of the pandemic.

The Customer Service Hub handled more than 117,000 queries through its WebChat service in 2020, and handled over 87,000 calls.

June was the busiest month for the WebChat service, with approximately 16,000 chats handled. February was the busiest month for calls, with more than 20,000 calls handled.

Passport officials were then redeployed into other roles, such as contact tracing for the HSE and helping the Department of Social Protection to facilitate the processing of Covid-19 related benefits.

The Passport Service paused operations during periods of Level 5 restrictions, but continued to offer a same-day service for emergencies and a weekly service for urgent adult renewals through its online service.  

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said that he was “very proud of the dedication and commitment” of staff across his Department:

I want to thank staff in the Passport Service who adapted to the challenges of 2020 by demonstrating great flexibility and adaptability. They also demonstrated the resilience of the Passport Online system by effectively clearing any backlogs when operations resumed within 4 weeks.

“This is a real demonstration of the opportunities when cutting edge technology meets the innovation and flexibility of the civil service.” 

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Gráinne Ní Aodha

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