Government doesn’t know how many passports have been issued?

‘Huge increase in demand for passports from South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Canada and other states’ – TD.

Sligo News File Online.

There has been an enormous increase in the demand for Irish passports, but it seems the Government doesn’t know how many they have issued or the basis on which they have been granted to people abroad.

Charlie Flanagan, Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Raising the issue with Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan, Deputy Thomas Broughan said he had noticed a huge increase in demand for passports from South Africa, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Canada and other countries. “Many thousands of applications were made in 2015 and 2016.”

He asked Flanagan, “Does the Department have any idea how many people worldwide have an Irish passport,” and “what are the eligibility levels?”

He said, “I remember asking the former Deputy Gilmore when he was Minister, the very same question and he could not give me an answer. Does the Department actually know?”

However, it looks from the Dail record that Flanagan as the current Minister responsible for the Passport Office was apparently unable to get any closer than that “there are millions of Irish passport holders worldwide.” He also failed to specify the application requirement for the acquisition of an Irish passport.

So, is the Passport Office is throwing out passports without keeping any record of the number or the persons to whom they are being handed over? If not, why then has Flanagan – and seemingly before him, Gilmore – failed to provide the details?