Record Number of Irish Passports Issued in 2016
Arecord number of Irish passports were issued in 2016, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs announced in January. In total, 733,060 passports were issued last year, a nine percent increase from 2015.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan, TD, attributed the rise to “a variety of factors including the fact that more Irish people traveled in the first half of the year; we also had the Euros Championships and a historical spike in applications from 2006 feeding through in the 10-year renewal cycle.”
Brexit, he said, was also a factor. “Following the U.K. referendum on E.U. membership in June, passport applications from Northern Ireland saw an increase of 26.5 percent over 2015 to 67,972 while application levels from Great Britain increased by 40.6 percent to 64,996.
“The fact that passport renewal turnaround targets were largely met during the year despite the considerable demand pressure is I believe a great tribute to the professionalism and dedication of Passport Service staff.”
The Irish Consulate in New York had the highest demand for passports, issuing 7,205 in 2016. This was closely followed by Canberra, San Francisco and Sydney.
In January, too, Minister Flanagan announced a number of major passport initiatives meant to modernize the passport service, including an enhanced on-line application tracking service, which allows passport applicants to accurately track progress of their application in a visually dynamic way with a progress bar animation as well as a web-chat social media service to facilitate “real time” communication between the Passport Service and passport applicants. ♦