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Passport Express renamed Post Passport ‘to better reflect slower turnaround time’

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting that passport delays were a serious issue.

Demand for passports has increased by approximately 50% in a year, according to Simon Coveney. File photo.
Demand for passports has increased by approximately 50% in a year, according to Simon Coveney. File photo.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

Updated May 25th 2022, 10:40 PM

PASSPORT EXPRESS HAS been renamed as ‘Post Passport’ because it’s the slowest method of applying for the travel document.

An Post rebranded the service in a move sanctioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

It comes amid significant delays in processing new passports, particularly for children, due to a surge in demand following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fine Gael TD Emer Higgins said the renaming will finally alleviate confusion around slower turnaround times for postal passport applications.

In a video message on Twitter, Higgins said the name change came following “months-long of campaigning”. 

The Dublin-Midwest TD said applying by post is “by far the slowest and most expensive means of application, with standard renewals taking up to eight weeks by post as opposed to 10-15 working days online.

“But up until now I’ve found that a lot of people hear the name Passport Express and presume that it is the fastest method of application. I’m delighted that An Post has now headed my calls and renamed the service to Post Passport.

“I have been engaging with An Post and Minister Coveney on this matter and I think this new name will provide applicants with greater clarity and prevent people from mistakenly choosing the slower postal method if they can avoid it.”

Higgins said the main message for people applying for a passport is to apply online, apply early and ensure all their paperwork and signatures are in order.

The announcement was met with derision from members of opposition political parties.

Sinn Féin’s Maolíosa Mc Hugh – MLA for West Tyrone – said: “Half the country are waiting on passports they applied for months ago. What does the government do? Instead of ensuring the process is speeded up, they campaign to change the name to reflect that there is no express service and use it as a reason to congratulate themselves.”

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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar tonight told the Fine Gael parliamentary party that both the processing and issuing of passports remain a major issue for first-time applicants.

However, it’s understood that he said if 40% of passport applications are being filled out incorrectly or are incomplete, this is an issue with the forms and not with applicants.

TDs and Senators are also issues from their constituents on the matter at the meeting.

Foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney told the Dáil yesterday that the Passport Office was “upscaling” its number of employees to cope with the increase in demand.

“We are talking about passport demand increasing by approximately 50% in a year. This summer, we will have 900 people in the passport office. Last summer, it was 460,” Coveney said.

Post Passport is the only postal method accepted for passport applications in Ireland. The Department of Foreign Affairs does not process applications submitted by ordinary or registered post.

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Céimin Burke

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