Backlog of passport applications sparks fears for fans heading to Euro 2016
Published 24/05/2016 | 02:30
Holidaymakers have been warned not to book flights unless their passports are up to date after the Passport Office admitted it was way behind in processing thousands of passport applications.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has drafted in 227 temporary clerical workers to help clear 68,281 passport applications. There is currently a backlog of 13.5pc - 9,217 applications.
It also confirmed to the Irish Independent that it had approved overtime at three offices - Mount Street and Balbriggan in Dublin and at the Cork Passport Office.
With Euro 2016 less than three weeks away, those fans hoping to witness Ireland take on Sweden at the Stade de France in Paris on June 13 have been told to submit their applications for a passport renewal in person rather than by post.
"Demand for passports has been very high throughout 2016 and a number of measures have been put in place to address this unexpected surge in demand," the DFA said. "It's peak season at the moment.
"The Passport Service would also like to take the opportunity to remind customers to ensure that their documentation is up to date.
"Customers should choose the correct application channel depending on when they will travel to ensure their passport arrives on time."
Sources at the Passport Office expressed concern that a faulty machine had contributed to the backlog.
However, the DFA denied this claim, saying "contingency measures" were in place to ensure such breakdowns would not affect "the level of production".
"There could be a lot of misery and a lot of money wasted if families fail to get their passports on time," said Fianna Fáil's spokesman on foreign affairs Darragh O'Brien. "The department should know by now there's always surge in applications coming into summer."