New passport costs €7 to make – you'll pay €80
THE price of passports will not come down even though the cost of producing them will fall by half.
The new passport – which has images depicting Irish culture and landmarks – will come into official use later this week.
They will cost €7 each to produce – half the price of the current passports – and will save €4m a year.
However, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore confirmed this would not mean cheaper passports, which currently cost €80 for a 10-year one with 32 pages, and €110 for a 66-page version.
Mr Gilmore, who launched the passport in Dublin yesterday, said the price would stay the same, and insisted it was in line with charges in other countries.
"There are some additional capital costs that we'll be incurring over the next period of time," Mr Gilmore said.
"We'll have to renew the printing equipment for passports and we will have to make arrangements for online applications. The fee for the Irish passport is in line with other countries. It works out at about €8 per year."
He also insisted the passport would be very secure, and would be very hard to forge or copy.
"We have combined the latest security technology with selected imagery in order to produce a passport which represents Ireland – our culture, our history, our people," he said.
Among the images on the passport pages are Croagh Patrick, the Rock of Cashel, as well of images of people playing gaelic games.
Also featured is poetry from WB Yeats, Nuala Ni Dhomhmaill and James Orr.
Other landmarks featured are Kylemore Abbey, the Aviva Stadium and the Samuel Beckett Bridge over the Liffey, with the Custom House and Dublin Convention Centre in the backdrop.
Half-form images of 14 different river gods – like those on the Custom House and Liffey bridges, in Dublin city centre – are at the edge of each page.
The images only fully form when two different pages fold back on each other, and Mr Gilmore says this is an additional security feature.
There was also some discussion within the Department of Foreign Affairs about including images from Northern Ireland, since citizens from the North can opt for an Irish passport.
Although these were not included, a topographical map of the island of Ireland, as well as an extract from article two of the Constitution, which says anyone born on the island of Ireland is entitled to an Irish passport, are on page three. An Ulster-Scots poem is also included.
Mr Gilmore also said the passport office in Dublin will relocate from its current home in Molesworth Street.
He said the Department of Foreign Affairs was discussing a new location with the Office of Public Works.
The passport book was designed and produced in Ireland by a consortium led by security printers DLRS, based in Bray, Co Wicklow; HID Ireland of Baile na hAbhainn, Co Galway; and the Central Bank.
However, the main designers of the images on the passport was a team from Absolute Graphics in Bray.