Tuesday, 2 November 2021
Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters
Foreign Birth Registration
I will certainly discuss this matter with the Minister and officials in the Department. It is one that comes across my desk from time to time. The passport service is working very closely with the human resources division in the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Public Appointments Service, on an ongoing basis to get more staff in. That is the bottom line for the entire system of passport applications and especially foreign birth registrations. There is major forecasted demand for foreign birth registrations and passports in general. The Government is making large investments in the future of the Passport Office. Over the next couple of years, the Department will replace the technology underpinning the service, which will deliver efficiencies not just to passport services but to foreign birth registration. An additional €10 million from the budget is being invested to help deal with passports.
What will help the situation is for people to apply early for passports, apply online as best they can and, if they can avoid putting in paper applications, to do so as early as possible. There will be a large number of passport applications between now and next summer because we know the number of passports that have now expired. It will help with the process the Senator talked about, and everything in the Passport Office, if everybody could get their applications in early and do so online insofar as they can. We are looking to recruit much more staff to deal with all these issues.