By Rebecca Black, PA
A record number of Irish passports has been issued in one year, with 1,080,000 given out in 2022.
The number of first-time passport applications from Northern Ireland and Great Britain was 100,000 out of more than 1.15 million total applications received.
The Irish Passport Service announced in November that it had reached the millionth mark in November, breaking the previous record of 935,000 in 2019.
Applications were also received from the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France, Spain, Germany and South Africa.
Meanwhile, the Irish Passport Service said the most popular surname worldwide was Murphy and the most popular baby girls’ names were Emily, Fiadh and Lily, while Noah, Jack and James topped the baby boys’ list.
The oldest applicant was 102 and the youngest just three days old.
August was the busiest month for Customer Service Hub phone calls, with more than 41,000 calls handled. July was the busiest month for the WebChat service, with over 23,000 chats handled.
Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin described extraordinary volumes of applications.
“In 2022, the Passport Service saw extraordinary volumes of applications received and passports issued,” he said.
“This was a direct result of pent-up demand due to disruptions to travel throughout 2020 and 2021.
“The Government made significant investment over the year to scale up services to meet this demand.”
“The Passport Service received over 1.15 million passport applications in 2022 and is set to issue just under 1.1 million passports by the end of the year.
“Over 99% of all online renewal applications and paper applications are issuing within the standard turnaround times.
“Additionally, enhancements to the service enabled the Passport Service Customer Service Hub to handle over 280,000 calls and more than 126,000 chats through its WebChat service.”
Mr Martin said they are expecting another busy year for the passport service in 2023.
He added: “I want to express my thanks to the staff in the Passport Service who responded to the challenges of 2022 by demonstrating great diligence and resilience.
“The historic achievement of over one million passports issued in a calendar year is down to their commitment to public service and hard work. My department will continue to work to ensure that our services meet the needs of our citizens in 2023.”