Almost a quarter of a million applications for Irish passports have been submitted in under three months.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said that more than 230,000 applications have been received to date this year.

He said the figures represent a 30% increase on the same period last year.

2018 proved to be a record year with the highest number (860,000) of Irish passports ever issued.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said more than 70% of the 2018 applications came from the island of Ireland.

It also revealed it is expecting a further spike this weekend.

During St Patrick's weekend in 2018, more than 2,500 people applied for an Irish passport online - and based on current trends, officials are expecting that number to double this year.

The figures come on the final countdown to the date the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union.

Last month, the passport division of the Irish embassy in London warned that it is "stretched and working under pressure", and that staffing levels "are not sufficient" to meet the rising number of applications ahead of Brexit.

The Department of Foreign Affairs put the spike in applications down to an increase in travelling and a tendency towards early renewal.

Mr Coveney said that extra resources have been allocated to the passport service.

He said: "Given the demand we are experiencing significant extra resources have been given to the passport service including hundreds of extra staff for processing and customer service."