9 August 2021
By Tom Collins
#Delays: Every summer people apply for Passport renewals at the last minute, but now there are COVID working restrictions on top of that, creating a ‘perfect storm’
Sinn Féin’s Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney (who is also Cork based) to put in place provisions to address the backlog of approx. 112,000 passport applications which are currently outstanding, 4,596 of which are in Cork.
The Cork South Central TD said:
“The backlog in processing passport applications is down to the failure of the government to put in place sufficient supports for the passport service during this the busiest time of the year.
“There can be no doubt as to the effort that the staff and management in the passport service are putting in to deal with both the backlog accrued over Covid, and the deluge of applications coming forward at this point, which is the peak period for passport applications.
“So far to date in 2021 alone, the Passport Service has received almost 400,000 passport applications. According to figures revealed to Sinn Féin, there are currently approx. 112,000 applications with the Passport Service.
“Some 50,000 of these applications require additional documentation, while a further 62,000 applications are sitting with the Passport Service. In Cork there are 4,596 applications waiting to be processed. This is despite passport service staff working long hours, and in some cases on Saturdays and Sundays, to attempt to deal with a growing workload.
“The reality is that, during normal times there is a core staff of approx. 450 in the passport section, which is increased during the peak period by a total of approx. 200 to a total of 650. However, at present staff numbers are significantly reduced, with only about 500 personnel in total being left to deal with these demands.
“I am calling upon the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, as the individual who bears the ultimate responsibility for his department, to ensure that there are sufficient staff on hand to deal with demand at this time. The responsibility lies with Minister Coveney, and he must act accordingly.”