There has been renewed calls for an Irish passport office in Northern Ireland after new figures revealed record breaking numbers of applications in 2018.
Official Passport Office figures showed than more than 84,000 people from Northern Ireland made applications in 2018, a 2% increase from the previous year.
The news comes as officials in Dublin are expecting a surge in applicants post-Brexit.
Officials predict that up to 300,000 additional passports applications could be made if the UK leaves the EU in a no-deal scenario and 100 extra staff may be need in the Republic to cope with the demand.
Commenting on the figures, Sinn Fein Senator Niall O Donnghaile said they reinforce to need for an Irish passport office in Northern Ireland.
“These figures can no longer be ignored. The government must take the necessary steps to ensure citizens in the north are not left behind by investing in their needs," he said.
“Staff, who do a fantastic job, are under major stress as a result of this increase and the infrastructure required to meet these increases must be invested in where demand is greatest.
“As the chaos of Brexit deepens, more and more people are claiming their right to an Irish passport and EU citizenship. It’s important that this process runs smoothly.
“It’s time for the government to properly invest in the needs of Irish citizens in the six counties by opening the type of facility needed as soon as possible.”
The number of people living in mainland UK applying for Irish passports has also increased, with 98,544 applications made in 2018 - a 22% increase from 2017.