Diplomatic passports are issued in accordance with the provisions of the Passports Act, 2008. Section 16 of the Act makes particular provision for the issuance of diplomatic passports to persons who hold a diplomatic rank or to persons whom the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade considers it appropriate to issue such a passport in order to carry out their duties. Applications are only approved for individuals who are Irish citizens and can demonstrate that they require a passport for travel to undertake official business on behalf of the State.
Since January 1 2015, the Passport Service issued a total of 1,146 diplomatic passports. Of these, 134 were issued to spouses of existing diplomatic passport holders.
Applicants for diplomatic passports must be in possession of (or have proof of application for) a valid, personal passport before their diplomatic passport application can be considered. The use of diplomatic passports is restricted to travel on official business. Personal passports must be used for all other travel.
Individuals issued with a diplomatic passport who no longer qualify to hold such a passport are required to surrender it for cancellation. This requirement is clearly set out to the holders of diplomatic passports when the passport is issued. The validity of diplomatic passports is limited to a period of five years or, if shorter, to the anticipated period in which the holder will remain eligible to hold such a passport.
The passport service is not aware of any diplomatic passports issued to persons who have left government service or are no longer public representatives which should have been returned and have not been returned.