Thursday, 29 April 2021
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
54. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of public servants who were redeployed from the passport office for other duties elsewhere since March 2020; the number who continue to be redeployed elsewhere; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22546/21]
Staff of the Passport Service continue to produce emergency and urgent applications, to offer customer service through WebChat, to assist with consular assistance for Irish citizens overseas and temporary reassignment. The Passport Office has issued more than 3,500 urgent and emergency passports since the beginning of the year. Our Webchat team have also responded to more than 45,000 queries. The Passport Office has processed 430,000 passport renewals since the start of the pandemic.
Applicants who require an urgent or emergency passport can contact the Passport Service via our Customer Service Hub Webchat function on our website.
Irish citizens who are resident overseas should continue to contact the Passport Service through the local Irish Embassy or Consulate General who continue to provide assistance to all our citizens abroad.
To assist with the wider State response to COVID-19, 166 Passport Service personnel have been redeployed, at the request of different Departments, into other, essential public service roles, such as contact tracing for the HSE, assisting the Department of Social Protection to facilitate the processing of COVID-19 related benefits, providing consular assistance to Irish citizens overseas and assisting the Public Appointments Service.