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10% increase in Irish passports issued this year - but Brexit's not to blame

That’s according to Minister Charlie Flanagan.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THERE HAS BEEN a 10% increase in the amount of Irish passports issued so far this year, compared to 2015.

But if you thought this was wholly due to Brexit, you’d be wrong, according to the minister responsible for foreign affairs.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD discovered how many passports had been issued this year when he put a parliamentary question (PQ) to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan.

“The number of Irish passports issued as of 13 December 2016 was 719,675 and this is projected to increase to almost 740,000 by the end of the year. This represents an almost 10% increase on the 2015,” said Deputy O’Brien.

There were 672,760 passports issued in 2015.

In his reply to O’Brien, Flanagan said:

Underlying demand for passports in 2016 was already running at an increase of over 9% 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 10 year renewal cycle.

However, O’Brien himself puts some of the demand down to the Brexit referendum result.

“Undoubtedly, Brexit has had a significant impact on the numbers applying for an Irish passport,” he said. “Since the referendum result was announced we have seen a spike in the amount of applications received by the passport office. Demand has increased further on foot of the UK’s decision to leave the EU.”

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He said that an Irish passport “has now become even more respected as it represents a gateway to the EU”.

The increase in those applying for an Irish passport also underscores the fact that despite the outcome of the referendum there are many people who are keen to retain the benefits associated with EU membership and the fundamental principle of free movement

The day after the Brexit result, the Irish Passport Service saw an increase in queries about Irish passports, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Read: FactCheck: Is there a rush for Irish passports because of Trump and Brexit?

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