TD for Dublin Mid West, Mark Ward has expressed deep concern at the failure of the government to put in place provisions to address the backlog of approx. 112,000 passport applications which are currently outstanding. The Dublin Mid West TD said: “The backlog in processing passport applications is down to the failure of the government to put in place sufficient supports for the passport service during this the busiest time of the year. There can be no doubt as to the effort that the staff and management in the passport service are putting in to deal with both the backlog accrued over Covid, and the deluge of applications coming forward at this point, which is the peak period for passport applications.
So far to date in 2021 alone, the Passport Service has received almost 4000,000 passport applications. According to figures revealed to the Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs John Brady, there are currently approx. 112,000 applications with the Passport Service. Some 50,000 of these applications require additional documentation, while a further 62,000 applications are sitting with the Passport Service. In Dublin alone there are 15,250 applications waiting to be processed. This despite passport service staff working long hours, and in some cases, on Saturdays and Sundays to attempt to deal with a growing workload. But the reality is that, during normal times there is a core staff of approx. 450 in the passport section, which is increased during the peak period by a total of approx. 200 to a total of 650. But at present staff numbers are significantly reduced, with only about 500 personnel in total being left to deal with demands.
I am calling upon the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, as the individual who bears the ultimate responsibility for his department, to ensure that there are sufficient staff on hand to deal with demand at this time. The responsibility lies with Minister Coveney, and he must act accordingly