23 May 2022
By Elaine Murphy
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West, Aindrias Moynihan, has urged the Minister for Foreign Affairs to look at streamlining the passport application process as delays are putting people planning to travel under pressure as the Summer nears.
Deputy Moynihan raised the ongoing issue of delays for first time passport applicants with the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Dáil Eireann and also at a recent Joint Policing Committee meeting.
Among several other reasons, delays can arise when the passport office is unable to verify guardian forms of a first-time applicant which have been stamped and signed in local Garda stations.
The Cork North West TD commented, “When the Passport Office is not able to verify the form, the application is sent back and this causes huge stress for families.
“One Garda station was getting up to 13 calls per hour – and this was at the lower end of the spectrum compared to other stations – from the Passport Office to verify a form that had been stamped and signed. There are huge difficulties if a particular Garda station is closed because the call is then forwarded to the district headquarters, but the daybook will not be available there to verify the form, so more calls are needed as a result.”
There are currently 88,000 first time applications still awaiting to be processed with an average waiting time of 30 days when no delaying issue occurs.
The Deputy also added, “The time it takes to get a passport now is causing a lot of stress for people who are planning to travel. Is there a way of streamlining this process? When I raised it at the joint policing committee meeting, it was suggested that an email with a list of the people verified in a station each day could be sent to avoid the repeated calls.”
Demand for passports continues to be very high with unprecedented levels of applications continuing to be received. Over 130,000 applications were received in April alone.