Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has indicated a plan to speed up delays in issuing passports, including more than doubling passport office staff numbers.
Staff numbers dealing with customers in the passport office will increase from 60 to 140 in two weeks’ time, according to a report in the Irish Examiner, while a new system of Garda certification has also been introduced.
It comes amid record applications for passports, with current demand beating 2019 which had been the busiest year by almost 20 per cent.
Minister Coveney, in an email sent to members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, said a new agreement was struck yesterday with An Garda Síochána on witnessing first-time child applications.
Around 50 applications a day are stalled due to those applying being asked to get new consent forms, because officials in the passport office are unable to contact the witnessing garda.
To address this, a daily list will now be transmitted between the passport office and Garda management of the cases where contact has not been made and the contact will then be initiated on the Garda side.
Delays are largely affecting first-time passport applications. Around 80 per cent of applications received by the passport service are renewals, with 99 per cent of these issued within the standard turnaround time.