Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, has called on the Irish Government to tackle the unacceptable backlog in the processing of short stay and tourist visas. He claimed that the significant delay in processing such visas is harming Ireland’s tourist industry.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“I have been contacted by constituents who have been planning holidays for family members from countries that do not have free visa travel to Ireland, and their plans have been severely disrupted by this backlog.
“The processing of short stay and tourist visas is meant to only take 8 weeks, but at the moment, it can be taking more than 14 weeks.
“Any long delays severely hamper the travelling plans of prospective tourists, as they cannot confidently book flights to Ireland or accommodation here until they have heard that they have successfully acquired a tourist visa.
“I believe these delays are having a significant negative effect on tourism in Ireland, and considering how important the tourist sector is to the Irish economy, I believe this is unacceptable.
“I understand that the staff in the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) are working extremely hard at this busy time of the year, and they have always diligently dealt with any queries I have raised with them. However, it is obvious they need more resources to clear this backlog.
“I have raised the issue with the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, as INIS is a unit within her Department.
“I have also written to the Minister for Tourism, Shane Ross, asking if he is aware of this specific issue, the problems it is creating for Ireland’s tourism industry, and requesting that he asks the Minister for Justice to increase the amount of resources available to INIS, so that this visa backlog can be cleared.”