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The Irish lost 34,622 in 2009

Over 13,000 Irish passports have been lost in 2010

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The Irish lost 34,622 in 2009

The shocking figure, released by the Irish Passport Office, shows that despite the relatively low incidence of passport theft and crime, there is a serious problem with Irish people losing their passports, which is generally accepted as one’s most important document.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has called the figure “a real concern” and has outlined its desire to see the situation urgently addressed.

There is also an equally shocking level of stolen passports, which is often tied to identity theft. So far this year over 2,188 passports were reported as stolen and Interpol, the international police force, issues over 30 advisories a day related to passport theft.

Commenting on the missing passports, Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin said the percentage of Irish documents lost and stolen is "in line with other countries, including the United Kingdom".

He noted: "Individual citizens are primarily responsible for the safekeeping of their own passports.

"In this regard the department is constantly urging that passports should always be kept in a secure place and that citizens take particular care of the document when travelling."

Last year’s tally ran to 34,622 lost passports, which represents almost six percent of passports issued during the year, or over one in 20. This year’s figures suggest that the tally will be much the same - if not greater - by December.

Once a passport is reported lost, this information is relayed to Interpol through the gardai.

The information is then transmitted to police forces and border control officers worldwide.

"The department strongly advises that citizens notify the Passport Service of any lost passport at the earliest opportunity," said Mr Martin.

If that happens any individual who attempts to travel on a lost or stolen passport runs a massive risk of being stopped at border control points.

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