Number of Kildare people on passport waiting list jumps by 700 in past month

Senan Hogan

Reporter:

Senan Hogan

Call for passport office in Sligo

FILE PHOTO

There is now a total of 2,400 people living in Co Kildare currently waiting for a passport, according to figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

This figure has increased by around 700 since the same time last month.

Kildare has the highest number of applications on the waiting list in the Republic with Dublin (17,100) and Cork (4,700).

Waiting lists in some counties in Ulster are also high possibly due to an increase in applications following Brexit.

There is believed to be close to 60,000 people on the island of currently waiting for a passport.

The Passport Office paused most of its operations in line with Level 5 restrictions in late December and will resume when the country returns to Level 4 restrictions.

The Department of Foreign Affairs insisted that any backlog will be cleared within “six to eight weeks”.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said: "In line with the National Framework on Living with COVID-19, the Passport Service continues to provide a high-quality essential service in line with Government measures to reduce social contact and combat the spread of COVID-19.

"This essential service is available for those who are required to travel due to the death or serious illness of a family member or meet the criteria for travel as defined in the recent amendment to the Health Act 1947, which came into effect on 1 February 2021. Supporting documentation is required in such cases.

"Applicants who require an urgent or emergency passport can contact the Passport Service via our Customer Service Hub Webchat function on our website.

"Irish citizens who are resident overseas should continue to contact the Passport Service through the local Irish Embassy or Consulate General who continue to provide assistance to all our citizens abroad.

"Staff of the Passport Service continue to produce emergency and urgent applications, to offer customer service through WebChat, to assist with consular assistance for Irish citizens overseas and temporary reassignment of staff to the Department of Health.

"As well as issuing more than 3,500 urgent and emergency passports, the Passport Service has also issued approximately 45,000 passports since the beginning of the year. Our Webchat team have also responded to approximately 45,000 queries.

"At present, there are approximately 90,000 Passport Online applications in the system. The number of applications in the system that are for applicants resident overseas is approximately 36,000. The return to full operations will commence with all applications received via Passport Online.

"The Passport Service is confident, taking into account measures to ensure a safe workplace, that any Passport Online backlog can be cleared in six to eight weeks."