Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that the surge in the number of applications for an Irish passport from both the North and Britain will place further demand on the already pressurised passport services.
Deputy O’Brien made his comments on foot of details received through a parliamentary question which he recently tabled to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.
He said, “Holding an Irish passport has always given citizens unique status across the globe, and has become a well-respected symbol of free movement.
“For the first time since 2012 the number of passport applications received from Britain has exceeded the number received from the North- 81,287 and 80,964 respectively.
“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.
“This was one of a number of issues I discussed with members of British Labour’s Foreign Affairs and Brexit team in Westminster yesterday.
“The number of those applying for an Irish passport has certainly risen on foot of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. 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.
“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.”