People from Northern Ireland who are planning to travel abroad this summer are advised to check if their Irish passport is valid due to the high demand for applications.
Particularly late are applications for first-time passports, which are inevitably difficult to process.
There has been a spike in requests since the Irish government recently announced the easing of most Covid restrictions as families rush to book holidays abroad.
The problem has been compounded by the fact that during the pandemic, the Dublin Passport Office has been closed to all but emergency applications for an extended period.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Cowen said the numbers had disappeared from “the graphs” in the past three months.
The passport service received 137,000 applications in January, more than 150 thousand in February and more than 100 thousand in March.
A total of 634,000 passports were issued in 2021, 936,555 in 2019, and 450,070 in 2020.
Mr Quinn urges tourists to check if their passports are valid due to the high demand for valid applications.
Citizens of the country said they were inundated with requests from local voters to expedite passport applications for travel abroad.
Many parents applying for a child’s passport for the first time do not even realize the importance of time and documentation requirements, however, it seems that the employment issue may also add to people’s frustration.
In recent weeks, the Passport Service has reduced the average time it takes to receive your first order from 40 business days to 35.
The current number of employees in the Passport Office is 774, but the Passport Office is organizing its own competition to recruit additional employees for temporary clerics and retain employees throughout the year to meet the expected demand in the coming months.
Mr Quinn said: “I strongly urge anyone considering traveling abroad this year, especially families with young children, to check the validity of their passports before booking a flight and applying for it online in a timely manner.
From January 1, 2022 to March 20, 204, more than 264,000 passports were issued, 21,000 in the same period in 2021.
“The Passport Service is currently in great demand for obtaining passports.
Additionally, 45% of adult online renewal requests are processed within one business day.
Applicants are strongly advised not to book flights until they have a passport.
Sinn Fein’s leader, Senad, has renewed his requests to open an Irish passport office in Northern Ireland to help with delays.
A total of 182,000 Irish passports are awaiting processing. “It shows there is a need for a passport office in the North,” said Niall O’Donnhill.
“Families lose money by missing out on vacations, despite hiring additional staff to run additional orders.
“As the Secretary of State acknowledged with the ‘no graph’ questions, opening an office in the North could help relieve some of the pressure on passport and post office staff.
“Once again I will launch this campaign on Seanad and call on the government to positively engage, prepare and provide for the citizens.”
Minister Quinn said the Passport Service is implementing a series of follow-up procedures that will positively impact current delivery times and improve customer service.
This includes first active apps priorities and a new document management system launched in early March.
A special feature of the new system is the improved processing time for applicants who are required to submit additional documents.
After additional documents are received, they are given priority, and when applications are completed, they can now be considered within three weeks.
It’s time to process your current passport:
10 working days for Simple Adult Online Update
15 working days for complex online or kids promotions
35 working days for the first online passport application
8 weeks by An Post for “Passport Express”.