Alleged backlog of over 50,000 passport applications in Department of Foreign Affairs
An alleged significant backlog in passport applications has developed at Ireland’s Passport Office.
It's been reported that the Passport Office in the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is battling big delays due to a backlog of over 50,000 passport applications currently being processed.
James Lawless TD, the Junior Spokesperson on Science, Technology, Research and Development, took to social media to make the claim, advising the general public to "please check your passport".
The post, written on the Fianna Fáil TD's Facebook page, says:
"Please check your Passport. There are big delays for passport applications at the moment. There’s a backlog of over 50,000. This includes delays in passport express.
"If you are planning a holiday this Easter or later this summer, please check your passport. It’s quickest to renew online by logging onto passport online at www.dfa.ie."
Lawless spoke to JOE about how lack of resources and how applications coming from the UK may be adding to the problem.
"We've been inundated with queries in our constituents for passport renewals in recent times. However, the past year or two has been worse than ever," he said.
"What is usually advertised, and supposed to take three weeks, is now more like six to eight weeks.
"I think it's worth mentioning that the passport office never got the resources it needs. We see in recent times an awful lot of people in the UK looking for Irish passports, and I believe this is a big part of the reason for the backlog."
When asked about emergency passports, which is a service the DFA provides in cases of emergencies such as funerals, Lawless mentions that even that system has suffered.
"The service is there for those in need. You pay a little extra and you're supposed to get your new passport in three days. However now it's a little longer, usually a week."
According to the DFA's website, the current average turnaround time for an online passport application is 10 working days/two weeks.
An An Post passport express renewal application takes 23 working days, an An Post passport express first time application for a replacement passport takes 25 working days and a Northern Ireland express passport renewal takes 15 working days.
It is clarified, however, that this turnaround time does not include postage time.
JOE has reached out to the Department of Foreign Affairs for comment.