THE Irish Government has announced the most popular baby names for 2016 as it revealed it been a record year for passport applications.
While the final figures are due later this month, Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs has said that around 740,000 Irish passports were issued last year.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, said today: “In 2016, we expect to issue some 740,000 passports by year’s end, a new record for the number of passports issued in any year to date and 2017 promises to be another busy year, both on the baby-making and passports-issuing fronts.”
A total of 17,752 passports were issued to children born in 2016 - 116 went to girls named Emily and 158 to boys named James, making them the most popular names of the year.
"It is however, disappointing to see that that the name Charlie has dropped down to number 24 from last year’s rank of 11," the Minister joked.
"We will have to see what can be done about that. I take some comfort in the fact that my middle name – James – topped the poll of the boys’ names."
Irish language names continued to be in vogue in Ireland over the last 12 months, with names like Aoife and Finn among the most popular.
Ireland's multi-cultural society was also evident on the list with Freya and Muhammad among the highest new entries.
"It is interesting, however, to look back to 1911, just five years before the Easter Rising, when such names hardly registered at all, with John and Mary being the most popular baby names," the Minister said.
Minister Flanagan also urged those needing to apply for passports in 2017 not to wait until the summer rush to renew.
“I would like to take this opportunity to remind Irish people to check the validity of their passports and those of their families, and to consider renewing now, ahead of the summer rush.
"Special requirements apply to children’s passports," he added.
Last October, The Irish Post revealed that over the last five years the number of people in Britain and the North of Ireland seeking to hold an Irish identity travel document had almost doubled – rising from 7,090 over the month of June 24 – July 24, 2011 to 13,756 for the same period last year.
On June 24, 2016 - the day after the Brexit vote - the number of applications to the Irish Embassy in London was 151.
Similarly in Northern Ireland, applications for an Irish passport on June 24 spiked to 207.