Charlie Flanagan acknowledges "spike in interest" in Irish passports in Northern Ireland

The Foreign Affairs Minister also suggests there has been 'some exaggeration' of the actual demand following last week's UK referendum

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The Foreign Affairs Minister has moved to reassure anyone wishing to apply for an Irish passport that the entitlements have not changed as a result of the Brexit vote.

Charlie Flanagan says UK passport holders will continue to enjoy EU rights for the foreseeable future until a formal exit of the of the country is negotiated.

Minister Flanagan says there has been a spike in interest in Irish passports as a result of the referendum

However he also suggests there has been "some exaggeration" of the actual demand.

Over the weekend it was reported that Belfast's main post office ran out of Irish passport application forms.

Minister Flanagan acknowledged calls for a passport office in Belfast, although said applying for a passport through the post office network is "the most convenient and cost effective way to apply".

He pointed out that people in the North "are not unduly disadvantaged" as a result of the existing passport offices in Cork and Dublin.

In a statement, Minister Flanagan said: “An unnecessary surge in applications for Irish passports will place significant pressure on the system and on turnaround times and is likely to impact those with a genuine need for passports to facilitate imminent travel plans.

“I urge those who believe they need to apply for an Irish passport immediately to enjoy free travel in the EU, to take full account of the facts before making an application," he added.