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More people now want Irish passports in Britain than the North

Demand from the UK has reached record levels.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

PASSPORT DEMAND FROM the UK has reached record demand.

The demand has risen ahead of Brexit as UK citizens race to keep their freedom of movement around the EU.

The figures come from a parliamentary answer issued to Fianna Fáil’s Darragh O’Brien.

They show that for the first time ever, the number of passport applications received from Britain has exceeded the number received from the North- 81,287 and 80,964 respectively.

Last month, the Passport Service’s figures shows that 20% of all those passports issued last year went to Irish citizens in the north and Britain.

O’Brien said:

“Since 2012, the number of applications for a Republic of Ireland passport from Northern Ireland has more than doubled.

“Many are now applying for a passport out of fear as opposed to requirement or necessity. The total number of Irish passport applications received from Northern Ireland and Britain is just over 160,000 and this is likely to have increased by the end of 2017.

Our current passport office is coming under growing pressure and the latest surge exposes the need to examine the current capacity to process these applications.

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“It is probable that changes will need to be made to procedures in order to cater for this increased level of demand and I intend to explore what additional resources will be available with the Foreign Affairs Minister.”

The Passport Service has undertaken what Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has described as an “ambitious reform programme to meet the unprecedented demand for passports from Irish citizens at home and abroad”, which is also looking at how to “continuously strengthen systems guarding against fraud and protecting the integrity of the Irish passport”.

To cope with the demand, it launched an online passport renewal service in March last year. This enables Irish citizens to renew their passport online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Read: 20% of Irish passports issued this year were for people in Northern Ireland and Great Britain

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