Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Questions (383)

Mick Barry

Question:

383. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the status of a passport application by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1080/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Passport Service has paused processing of routine applications while Ireland is at Level 5 of the Plan for Living with COVID-19. Passport Service staff have been temporarily reassigned to provide Consular Assistance for Irish citizens overseas.

The Passport Service continues to provide an emergency passport service for Irish citizens at home and abroad. The service is available for those who are required to travel due to the death or serious illness of a family member or because the applicant requires emergency medical treatment. Applicants who require a passport for emergency purposes, or to travel for urgent reasons, should contact the Passport Service via our Customer Service Hub Webchat function on our website.

While staff were on site in the Passport Service during the first week of the new year, carrying out the essential work of processing emergency and urgent passport applications, they also took the opportunity to produce approximately 2,000 passports, in the majority of cases for simple adult renewal applications.

The Passport Service has a comprehensive plan in place to resume all services, in line with the National Framework for Living with COVID-19. When operations resume at Level 4, all applications received via Passport Online will be processed. The Passport Service is confident that any backlog will be cleared quickly. When the Passport Service resumed operations in June 2020, the back log was cleared in 4 weeks. It was similar in December 2020 with the majority of the backlog cleared within 3 weeks.

The Passport Service plans to resume processing of routine paper based applications such as Passport Express, Northern Ireland Passport Express and applications for Foreign Birth Registrations at Level 3 of the framework.

With regard to the specific application about which the Deputy has enquired, an official from the Passport Service was in contact with the applicant’s father on 6 January 2020 to advise that the application will be processed at Level 4 of the Plan for Living with COVID-19.