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Over half a million people have applied for Irish passports so far this year

The Passport Office has been receiving more than 100,000 applications each month.

Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

MORE THAN 533,600 applications for Irish passports have been received so far this year.

There has been unprecedented demand for Irish passports in 2019, with the Passport Office receiving more than 100,000 applications each month.

March was the peak with 112,900 – the highest month on record.

While the Passport Office has said in the past that there are a number of reasons for the increase in demand, including a tendency towards early renewal and an increase in the number of Irish people travelling, Brexit is also playing a key role in the numbers boost.

“Since recording of passport numbers began there were only two months on record where the number of applications topped one-hundred thousand in a month. Contrast that with every month in 2019 when we’ve received at least one-hundred thousand applications, that’s how busy it is,” said a government source.

Demand from the UK and Northern Ireland continues to be up significantly on last year.

“Extreme peaks in demand from the UK and Northern Ireland were seen in February and March. The numbers are remaining high every month but those peaks were definitely seen in the context of Brexit,” they added.

It is understood that 45% of all applications are now being received through the online portal.

“This is an essential change in behaviour, the system would be crippled if all of these applications were coming in on paper. We are seeing people migrate to online renewal of their passport and we are getting great feedback on the speed passports are being issued through the online system dfa.ie/passports.”

Of adult and child applications, 99% of correctly completed online renewals are sent out within 10 working days. 40% of correctly completed online adult applications are sent out within 3 working days.

“The fastest way to get your passport renewed is online, it’s light years faster than contacting a TD,” said the government source.

Last week (10 June – 17 June) saw 5311 customer service calls and 4,111 live web chats with those seeking a passport – the highest number since the system began.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is calling on those booking holidays or due to travel in July, August and September to check that their passports are in date.

“Every year we see cases of families with one passport out of date, usually for one of the children, and they usually realise in the airport or the night before a flight,” said a department spokesperson.

“This can cost thousands to rebook a family holiday, it will only take five minutes to take the passports out and make sure everyone’s documents are in date.”

The passport offices in Dublin, Balbriggan and Cork have received more than 300 extra staff this year to keep up with demand.

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