Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, raised the backlog and delay in processing passports with the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, in the Dáil today.

Crowe said that the uncertainties and undue delays need to be eradicated when it comes to the passport application process.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“My office has been inundated with request from constituents regarding the current delays in the processing of passports. There is a significant backlog in processing applicants and it is causing undue stress for citizens and families.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed to the Public Accounts Committee that so far this year over 27,000 applications have taken six weeks to process, while a further 22,000 have taken eight weeks or more to process.

“The staff in the passport office are working hard during this busy and difficult time, but it is crystal clear that the office needs more investment and staff recruitment. There has been an 8% increase in passport applications, with fears over Brexit obviously driving some of this demand.

“Many people who are having difficulties with their application complain that they can’t get a response from the passport office by phone, email, or on social media. The passport office is not effectively communicating the current the delays in processing passports. This is making matters worse and causing more anxiety, uncertainty, and fear for those trying to ensure they can travel on a well-earned holiday, for work, or some other important reason.

“I welcome that the Tánaiste agreed with my suggestion that communications for the passport office need to be updated so that people can be fully informed of any delays before and during the application process.

“The Tánaiste needs to urgently provide the passport office with the necessary resources it needs to clear this backlog. He needs to remove the uncertainty, fear and unknown when it comes to what should be a simple and efficient process.”