Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Ceisteanna (131)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

131. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to introduce a reduced cost for renewing and obtaining a passport for senior citizens; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7988/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The Passport Service does not provide a reduced fee to any category of adult applicant for a passport, whether for the renewal of a passport or for a first time application. A reduced fee is applied on applications for passports for minors in recognition of the fact that a minor’s passport is valid for only five years. Most adult passports will be issued for a period of ten years.

I am satisfied that, at a cost of €75 for a renewal, which breaks down to €7.50 per year, the Irish passport fee compares favourably with the services offered elsewhere. For example, an adult would have to pay €8.25 per year for a British passport, €8.60 per year for a French passport, €9.75 per year for an American passport and €18.45 per year for an Australian passport.

Given that any shortfall in revenue would have to be met by the taxpayer, a decision to waive or reduce the application fee for any category of applicant would require careful consideration. It is important to ensure that the major upgrades to the passport service technology platforms and business processes as well as significant customer service improvements which have taken place in recent years can be maintained and further developed.

In the context of the services provided by the Passport Service, I would like to draw attention to the well-advanced Passport Reform Programme, one element of which is an online passport renewal service which was launched on 30 March 2017. This service was recently expanded to include renewal of children's passports and other categories of application. The online service brings significant benefits for citizens with faster turnaround times of 10 working days for all online applications, excluding postage.