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200,000 EHIC cards issued this year

An Executive spokesperson also told MI that events such as the current European Football Championship in France can lead to an increase in applications.

The spokesperson added that there was a total of 439,158 EHIC issued in 2015, a significant rise on 2014.

The HSE said it does not have any specific target in terms of how many cards it wants to issue per annum.

 “The card is available to all Irish residents on application, numbers issued per year vary considerably and are heavily influenced by events in Europe, such as the current soccer competition.”

Last August, MI revealed that over one million EHICs were issued during the three years 2012-2014.

Figures collated for this newspaper by the Executive showed that 368,584 cards were issued in 2014, 343,250 in 2013 and 380,864 in 2012 — a total of 1,092,698 cards issued within three years.

The EHIC, formerly the E111 form, is very popular with holidaymakers at this time of the year. If a person is an EU/European Economic Area (EEA) national and is travelling or staying temporarily in another state of the EEA or Switzerland, the card allows them to receive necessary medical care if they become ill or have an accident.

The HSE provides information on the EHIC and its use through its website

“The EU Regulations National Co-ordination Office does not have a specific budget allocation for publicity purposes; rather, we use existing communication systems with GPs, pharmacies etc,” the HSE spokesperson added.

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