Number of Irish passports issued drops by 60%

Number Of Irish Passports Issued Drops By 60%
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Cate McCurry, PA

The number of Irish passports issued this year dropped by 60 per cent compared to last year, new figures show.

Around 400,000 Irish passports were issued over the last 12 months, which is around 40 per cent of the number issued in 2019.

This year, more than 45,000 first-time applications were received from Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

Despite the introduction of travel restrictions both nationally and internationally this year, Irish citizens continued to require passports, particularly those living overseas.

The oldest online applicant was 100 and the youngest was two weeks old.

The most popular baby girls’ names were Olivia, Mia and Saoirse – while Noah, Adam and Cillian topped the baby boys’ list.

The most popular surname worldwide was Murphy.

The Passport Service paused operations during periods of Level 5 restrictions, but continued to offer a same-day service for emergencies and a weekly service for urgent adult renewals.


To assist with the wider State response to Covid-19, Passport Service personnel were also redeployed into other, essential public service roles, such as contact tracing for the HSE and assisting the Department of Social Protection to facilitate the processing of Covid-19 related benefits.

During the initial crisis, Passport Service staff were key to providing consular assistance to citizens overseas.

The Customer Service Hub handled more than 117,000 chats through its WebChat service in 2020, and handled over 87,000 calls.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said: “I am very proud of the dedication and commitment of colleagues across my Department.

“I want to thank staff in the Passport Service who adapted to the challenges of 2020 by demonstrating great flexibility and adaptability. They also demonstrated the resilience of the Passport Online system by effectively clearing any backlogs when operations resumed within four weeks.

“This is a real demonstration of the opportunities when cutting edge technology meets the innovation and flexibility of the civil service.”

Following the lifting of Level 5 restrictions on December 1, the Passport Service resumed processing of passport applications received through the Passport Online system.

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