Irish passports: 68,000 NI applicants since Brexit vote

Nearly 68,000 people in Northern Ireland have applied for Irish passports since the EU referendum in June 2016.

In a year where a record number of Irish passports was issued, the figure of 67,972 marks a rise of 26.5% on 2015 figures.

The level of applications from Great Britain has also shot up 40.6%, to 64,996.

The numbers emerge as Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan announces there were 733,060 passports issued by the Irish Passport Service last year, an overall increase of 9% on 2015.

Given the high levels of demand, the minister has urged Irish citizens to check passport validity & apply well in advance of travel to avoid delay.

"2016 was an exceptionally busy year for the Passport Service with a record number of passports issued. This represents a growth of 9% over 2016 and I expect this trend to continue in the coming years", he said.

"There was a strong increase in demand for passports in the first half of the year. This was due 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."

Mr Flanagan says renewal turnaround targets have been largely met despite the considerable demand pressure and paid tribute to the "professionalism and dedication" of Passport Service staff.