Written answers

Thursday, 4 July 2024

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Passport Services

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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124. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has considered setting up a portal for An Garda Síochána and the Passport Office to allow a Garda log all the details related to their signing of passport applications and associated details (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28762/24]

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The Passport Service has issued over 650,000 passports to date this year. Virtually all complete passport applications are being processed within or before advertised turnaround times with the majority of adult online renewal applications issuing within two working days. There currently no backlogs and 95% of applicants apply through Passport Online.

The Passport Service takes its responsibility to protect the integrity of the Irish passport very seriously. The Irish passport has a strong international reputation and ranks 3rd in the Henley Global Passport Index as it provides our citizens with visa-free access to 193 countries. The witnessing of passport forms is a vital element of the identity verification process.

For each application that requires a Garda witness, the Passport Service calls the relevant Garda station to confirm that the Garda recorded the form in the station logbook. The logbook is a record that is maintained by An Garda Síochána at each Garda Station. Passport Service staff will call the Garda station up to three times to verify the Garda's signature. Where the Passport Service cannot reach the Garda station, there is a system in place whereby the Passport Service contacts the relevant Superintendent’s Office to verify the details. Only then will the Passport Service request a new witnessed form.

The Passport Service maintains a close working relationship with An Garda Síochána and offers training and guidance to Gardaí on the correct completion of the required identity and consent forms. The Passport Service is continuously looking at ways to make the application process easier for applicants, including the enhancements of digital services. My Department would welcome the digitisation of the records maintained by An Garda Síochána when witnessing applications.


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