Nearly a million Irish passports issued in record-breaking 2019
Almost a million Irish passports were issued in 2019, the country’s government has announced.
The figure is a new record and represents a 7% increase on 2018. Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign affairs minister, said: “2019 was another bumper year for the Passport Service. The award-winning Passport Online [service] expanded in 2019 to include first-time applicants in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Great Britain and Europe. Irish citizens including children can also renew their passports online 24/7, from anywhere in the world.”
More than 900,000 Irish travel documents were issued in 2019. During peak periods, more than 5,800 applications were submitted from around the world in a single day. Continuing the record-breaking trend, total monthly applications exceeded 100,000 in January, March, April and May.
Brexit has led to a surge in demand from Irish citizens living in England, Scotland and Wales. All citizens living in Northern Ireland are eligible for an Irish passport.
Coveney added: “The Irish passport is a valuable document and we continue to strengthen all processes to prevent fraud and maintain its integrity and security.”
Helen McEntee, minister of state for European affairs, said the innovation shown by the passport service had made applying more convenient than ever, while enhancing the integrity and security of the Irish passport.
She said: “The Passport Service’s award-winning customer service hub, established in January this year, can handle 10,000 queries per week through their phone and webchat system, ensuring the application process for citizens is as smooth as possible. I look forward to seeing the continued development of this excellent service in 2020 for the benefit of Irish citizens here and abroad.”
Historical links between the UK and Ireland have meant that Britain has an enduring place in Irish emigration annals, with children and grandchildren of Irish-born citizens entitled to an Irish passport.
Interest in acquiring Irish passports has surged since the referendum on EU membership amid fears of queues at airports and the loss of a host of other rights that come with citizenship, including access to the European health insurance card for holiday health cover and the Erasmus university scheme.