The director of the Passport Service has said that approximately 120 passports are lost in Ireland every day.

Joseph Nugent said the figure is indicative of the regard that Irish people have for the document.

Mr Nugent told the Foreign Affairs Committee this afternoon that "a loss of that scale is critically important".

He said that after a music festival, the passport office usually receives "a box of passports".

He said young people using their passport as identification on a Saturday night "is the biggest problem".

Mr Nugent also called on citizens to apply for their passports "well in advance" of travel.

He warned of "seasonal pressures" on the office, with a spike in applications during May and July last year, with 10,000 extra passports being sought.

The issuing of Irish passports increased from 250,000 in 1995 to 631,000 in 2013.