A number of us in this Chamber know a lot about passports.
My Department engages in advertising and public messaging where there is important information on passports that needs to be brought to the attention of citizens. Several passport service public information campaigns have been initiated in recent years, including promoting the online passport renewal service. There has also been engagement with airlines and other travel-related agencies on how they can encourage good passport practice among citizens. My Department shall be raising the matter of airlines encouraging good passport practice at the next meeting of the national facilitation committee, which is chaired by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and of which all Irish-based airlines are members.
Early this year, the Passport Office ran a three-week public information campaign targeting citizens planning their holidays abroad. It included adverts on social media, video and other digital platforms, print advertisements in national and regional news papers, radio advertisements and radio interviews with the director of passport services. Another campaign will commence early next month.
The passport service will continue to promote good practice among citizens and encourages Deputies to remind citizens to register their details on the passport e-reminder service online.
The passport service operates three passport-printing machines, two of which are located in our main production facility in Balbriggan, County Dublin, and one of which is located in the Passport Office on Mount Street. All production facilities can print a passport irrespective of the channel in which the application was processed. This printing system allows for flexibility between printing machines if any one machine has reached capacity.
The three printing machines meet the passport service printing demands and have additional capacity remaining. The printing requirements of the Passport Office in Cork are met by these machines. As a result, there are no plans to add a printing facility. If, however, an applicant needs to travel for emergency reasons, an emergency passport can be issued in the Cork office to facilitate travel. I will elaborate on that when I get another opportunity.