By Pierce O’Reilly
Government documents showed this week that more than 705,000 Irish passports have been issued abroad. A quarter of the 2.72 million Irish passports in circulation were issued by Irish embassies and consulates outside of Ireland, according to figures issued by the Irish government.
The figures, which were read out by Minister Brian Cowen last week, did not give a breakdown on the number of people who were actually born in Ireland, however. People are in entitled to Irish citizenship if they are married to an Irish person for over three years. Grandchildren of people born in Ireland are also entitled to an Irish passport.
Over half of the passports had been processed by the London embassy. Cowen told the Dail he was satisfied that checking procedures were sufficient to ensure that only those entitled to Irish citizenship could obtain passports.