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Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Joan Collins: Deputy McNamara is not in the Chamber so I will divide the time with Deputy Pringle. I listened to the Minister of State's update on the passport service and the unprecedented number of passport applications that have been received and processed by the Passport Office. I accept that to a point, but the fact that we are a year into this means that patience is beginning to get thin. As we...

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Thomas Pringle: It is unfortunate when somebody does not turn up as it throws everybody's timing haywire. I will take this opportunity to commend my staff in Donegal who have been dealing with a continuous stream of passport issues over the last few months and who have been struggling with an unresponsive passport service. It is nearly impossible to get through to the passport service through the normal...

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Thomas Byrne: I thank the Deputies for their contributions. The sentiments they have expressed are sentiments I know only too well. I apologise for the absence of the Minister, Deputy Coveney, but I am glad that the director of the passport service has been in the Chamber throughout the debate. Many suggestions have been made by Deputies during this debate. There were some good suggestions and many...

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Paul McAuliffe: When a debate of this nature occurs in the House it is due to a failure of a State service to deliver the service people expect. Whether that is medical cards, access to services for people with disabilities or older people, or, in this case, passports, the issue is an important one. It is sometimes thought that access to a passport or travel is a frivolity or luxury and other issues are...

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Carol Nolan: We have a crisis here. It is absolute chaos. Some 195,000 applicants are still waiting for their passports, as the Minister of State knows. In my constituency offices in Laois and Offaly the volume of correspondence coming in is on a par with that related to housing and health, which I thought I would never see. Housing and health, in that order, have always been the main issues coming...

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Seán Canney: Most of the workload coming in to most Deputies' offices in recent weeks has comprised queries about passports. I thank the staff of both the Passport Service and the Department of Foreign Affairs for trying to deal with the applications. The aspects that are amiss are at a management level. There needs to be a better communication structure to deal with applications, as virtually every...

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Jennifer Carroll MacNeill: I am sharing time with Deputy McAuliffe. When I was driving to the House this morning, I saw a queue outside the Passport Service office at 8.45 a.m. It was a long queue and it reminded me that today would be another day of passport issues to be dealt with by the team in my office, who are at their wits' end. I thank them for their work as well as that of the Passport Service. Every...

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Imelda Munster: As the Minister of State has heard over and over, the Passport Office is in chaos. The service is at breaking point. One of the most frustrating things is that we are now into peak summer holiday season. This has gone on for a year and the frustration is primarily about the fact that nothing was done up until this point. We are now here at the eleventh hour trying to put additional...

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Thomas Byrne: Three weeks.

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Imelda Munster: This was prior to that. Another constituent of mine applied for a passport in early March and was due to travel on a date this month. That date came and went with no word from the Passport Office. When she eventually managed to make contact, it transpired there was a problem with her passport photo and she needed to provide a new one. That raises the question of whether the Passport...

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Peter Fitzpatrick: What is happening with passport applications is unacceptable. There is bad communication, people are not answering the phone and applicants are sometimes waiting for hours with no reply. I rang the office myself last week. Someone on the phone says you are number five on the list, then number four and then all of a sudden you are number 40. It is crazy what is happening. People think...

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Thomas Byrne: That is only a very small part of it.

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Paul Murphy: It is, however, a big feature of the discussion here. It is a basic function of democracy.

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Thomas Byrne: We can find ways around the problem and try to solve it. That is the point I am trying to make.

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl: Let us not have an across the room conversation.

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Paul Murphy: The basic point is to improve the service so people can get the service they are entitled to.

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Thomas Byrne: I agree.

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl: We are due now to go to a Government slot where Deputy James O'Connor was to share with Deputy Joe Carey who is not present. Perhaps in his absence we will take Deputy Bernard Durkan.

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

James O'Connor: I thank the Minister of State, Deputy Byrne, for being here. At the outset, I acknowledge that we arrived at this situation for very clear reasons. There is a sharp increase in the number of people who want to renew their passports. In addition, there have been some international circumstances that have driven demand for Irish passports. It is important that solutions are brought forward...

Passport Services: Statements (26 May 2022)

Bernard Durkan: Like other speakers, I am glad to have an opportunity to say a few words on this subject. It is a very sensitive subject for the people for a number of reasons. Many people and many families have not had a holiday in up to ten years because when they were ready to go the Covid lockdowns came about and they could not go anywhere. Families have changed and there are more people involved....

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