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Cabinet to consider making Passport Office an essential service amid backlog of 90,000 requests

About a third of the Passport Office staff are currently working on site.

Image: PA

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN Affairs Simon Coveney is to bring a memo to Cabinet today to make the Passport Office an essential service.

Currently, there is a backlog of over 90,000 applications for Irish passports.

About a third of the Passport Office staff are currently working on site, and have processed 430,000 passport renewals since the start of the pandemic.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, Coveney said that service has continued “right the way through, even the most difficult moments in this pandemic”.

Coveney said that when the Passport Office is fully operational, it can process about 120,000 passports a month.

“So I expect that we can clear the backlog within weeks,” he said, adding that the Passport Office can prepare for international travel, as well as other issues where passports are needed.

“That’s why I think it’s important in Cabinet today to confirm… that the ability to be able to get a passport or to get your passport renewed or your child’s passport renewed, is an essential service.”

In March, The Journal reported that parents who had to submit their own passports as part of their child’s application for a passport could be waiting as long as six months to receive their own one back.

Following that reporting, the Passport Office said it would issue more passports to applicants after expanding the criteria for what is a reasonable excuse to travel during the period of Level 5 restrictions.

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