The level of productivity and efficiency in the Passport Office is not up to scratch when it comes to processing first time applications, according to independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice.

The representative for the Roscommon-Galway constituency was speaking as airports began to get a little busier as travel restrictions eased.

Commenting on the matter, he said: “While the passport office seems to be processing renewal applications for existing Irish passport holders in a timely fashion, the same cannot be said for first time applicants.

“There is a significant wait time for those who have submitted first time applications and it seems as if documents are left sitting somewhere before they are scanned.

“Once they are scanned, the applicants are being told the wait time is anywhere up to 10 weeks before it may be processed – as long as no further issues arise.

“The re-opening of travel has been cited for quite some time now and it is unacceptable that people are experiencing such long delays for first time passport applications.

“Adequate resources need to be provided to the passport office to clear this backlog in a timely manner. The summer months and the lead up to it are traditionally busy periods for the passport office, with many applicants getting their documents in order before they go on holiday.

“I have been contacted by quite a number of families who have submitted applications for young children or new born babies in recent months, but are still waiting on the applications to be processed.

“These are people who may want to travel to introduce these kids to family members or grandparents for the first time, as a result of the lengthy restrictions that have been in place since the Covid 19 pandemic began.

“Immediate is required to resolve the backlog of first time applications within the passport office,” he concluded.

For further information contact Michael Fitzmaurice at 086-1914565

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