Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Ceisteanna (217)

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

349 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the efforts he has made to inform the public regarding the changes to children’s passports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25111/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Foreign)

With effect from 1 October last, the passport office ceased the practice of allowing children to be included on their parents' passports. Henceforth, all children, regardless of age, must obtain an individual passport in their own name for travel abroad. This change was made on foot of a recommendation from the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which sets international standards for travel documents, and was designed to improve the security of international travel for children. The new regulation brings us into line with international best practice in this regard. A number of countries already require that all visitors, including children, carry a separate passport and the new regulation will ensure that all Irish travellers are in a position to meet this requirement.

The passport office placed notices in the national papers on Sunday, 12 September and Monday, 13 September as well as in other journals and magazines, to inform the public of the change. Notices were also placed in the national papers in Northern Ireland on Monday, 13 September. In addition, information has been placed on the passport office's website atwww.passport.ie and has been disseminated through our diplomatic and consular missions abroad. The new arrangements were also communicated to An Post, which operates the passport express service, to the UK Post Office Limited, which operates an express passport service in Northern Ireland, and to Garda stations, from which passport application forms are available.

Question No. 350 answered with QuestionNo. 238.