'Careless' citizens lose 180,000 passports
Published 18/04/2010 | 05:00
Since 2005 over 180,000 passports have been lost or stolen.
From ditzy students losing passports in pubs to careless travellers, the widespread lack of "care and vigilance'' when it comes to these valuable documents is contributing to the growing 'passport mountain'.
The most up-to-date figures also reveal that in the past five years 156,800 passports were lost and a further 26,592 passports were stolen.
But while the CPSU has been criticised for its part in creating a backlog of more than 50,000 passports, the figures secured by Fine Gael's Billy Timmins reveal the problem has been intensified by mass carelessness. Mr Timmins wants those who lose passports to pay the price.
"Due care is not being taken over passports," he said. "We need a mechanism such as a surcharge for replacement to ensure people properly guard these valuable documents." He also believes there is a "growing trade" in Irish passports.
But the Department of Justice said that it has "increased the frequency of its reporting of serial numbers of all lost misplaced or stolen passports to Interpol''.
They also warned holders of lost, mislaid or stolen passports not to use them if found again, and added that in 2009 over 126 people had been held in airports after doing this.