By Andrew Atkinson

More than 900,000 Irish passports were issued in 2019, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – as the date of the UK leaving the EU nears.

The figures come in the wake of the United Kingdom set to leave the European Union on January 31, 2020.

The passport division of the Irish embassy in London has been working under pressure, with staffing levels not sufficient to meet the rising number of applications, ahead of Brexit.

The figure is up 7% on 2018 and a record made up of renewals and new applications.

The department said over 5,800 applications were submitted from around the world – in a single day – during peak periods.

Total monthly applications exceeded 100,000 in January, March, April and May in 2019.

There were a significant number of applicants from both Northern Ireland – and Britain – with over 94,000 first-time applications received from people born in Northern Ireland or Britain.

The number of people applying for citizenship – through Foreign Births Registration – continues to grow.

Over 29,000 applications in 2019 were made, with over 16,000 applications processed, the highest number ever registered in a single year.

A total of 51% of passport applications were submitted online in 2019. In March 2019 a plethora of applications for Irish passports had been submitted in under three months.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said that more than 230,000 applications have been received, by that date in 2019.

Figures represent a 30% increase on the same period in 2018 – a record year – with the highest number (860,000) of Irish passports ever issued.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the high applications was due to an increase in travelling, along with early renewals.

Although in contrast, there are people from within the Costa Blanca and Costa Calida areas who have applied for Irish passports, due to Brexit.

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