Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (331)

Pa Daly

Question:

331. Deputy Pa Daly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on the deployment of passport processing staff as part of the Covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8088/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Despite the introduction of travel restrictions both nationally and internationally during the Covid-19 pandemic, Irish citizens continued to require passports, particularly our community living overseas.

To assist with the wider State response to COVID-19, 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 and providing consular assistance to Irish citizens overseas.

The Passport Service has paused normal operations during Level 5 restrictions.

However, we continue to provide an emergency and urgent service. The emergency 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. The urgent service also assist citizens who are resident abroad who require a valid passport for visa purposes or citizens who require a renewal for work purposes. The Passport Service continues to operate its Customer Service Hub by WebChat to facilitate customer queries.