Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Questions (129)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

129. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of online, over-the-counter and postal passport applications, respectively, issued from the date on which the online option went live; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29217/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Online Passport Renewal Service was launched on March 30 2017. Since its launch, 545,542 passports have been issued on foot of online applications.

During the same time period, a total of 92,934 passports were issued on foot of applications submitted through the public counter at the Passport Offices in Dublin and Cork and 1,155,458 passports were issued on foot of applications submitted through postal application channels, including applications via Ireland’s network of missions overseas.

The Online Passport Renewal Service brings significant benefits to citizens, including faster turnaround times, a user-friendly application process, and a reduced application fee.

The Online Passport Renewal Service is part of the ongoing passport reform process. This programme is delivering major upgrades to passport service technology platforms and business processes as well as making significant customer service improvements to the Passport Service. It is envisaged that as part of this reform the online application process will be rolled out to first-time applicants by 2021.

From January to June this year, the Passport Service has seen a 10.1% increase in passport applications compared to the same six-month period in 2018. 45% of all applications received in the first six months of this year have been online applications. In this period, 62% of all those eligible to use the online renewal service have chosen this option. This compares to 31% for the same time period in 2018.

A strong take-up of online services will greatly improve the capacity of the Passport Service to manage increasing application volumes. Efficiencies gained mean that staff resources can be redeployed towards the processing of more complex applications, protecting the integrity of the Irish passport and enhancing the customer service we offer to citizens.