Monday 16 July 2018

Brexit blamed for delays in issuing of passports but Minister says real reason is the weather

Minister maintains reason for the delay is actually bad weather

20pc of the total number of applications received by the Passport Service this year were from Irish citizens in Northern Ireland or Great Britain.
20pc of the total number of applications received by the Passport Service this year were from Irish citizens in Northern Ireland or Great Britain.

Kevin Doyle, Group Political Editor

THERE have been arguments in the Dáil over whether delays in issuing passports is down to Brexit or bad weather.

Fianna Fáil has claimed the Department of Foreign Affairs is providing adequate resources for the Passport Office to deal with an increase in demand.

In the first six weeks of this year there were 129,000 applications for Irish passports – a 16pc increase on the same period in 2017.

Fianna Fáil’s Darragh O’Brien said turnaround times are now routinely missing the 16 days promised by Department.

He claimed people are missing foreign trips and holidays because it can take upwards of 21 days.

“The Government haven’t dealt with this all year round increase in demand, due to Brexit,” he said.

However, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney the main reason for delays was the Beast from the East and Storm Emma.

“The real demand was because of the adverse weather. We couldn’t get staff into the passport office during the bad weather,” he said.

Mr Coveney told the Dáil that the Passport Office are “endeavouring with some success” to get delivery times back to normal.

“People have to understand there are lots of services in the country that were impacted by severe weather and this is one of them.”

Mr O’Brien described the reply as a “non answer”.

“The answer of saying it’s down to the weather is not acceptable. We’re seeing peaks because of Brexit,” he said.

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