Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Ceisteanna (107)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

107. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the cost of a passport for a senior citizen; when the scheme of free passports for senior citizens was abolished; the estimated cost of re-establishing the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53352/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The current Irish passport fee for persons 18 years of age or over is €75 for applications made through the Passport Online service and €80 for a paper based application made via paper. A decision was taken in the 2005 budget to exempt applicants aged 65 and over from the passport fee. Passport fees for applicants aged 65 and over were reintroduced in the budget of December 2010 with effect from April 2011.

Passport Online is the most secure and convenient way available to all adults and children who wish to renew their passport from anywhere in the world and for first time passport applicants who are resident in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Great Britain, the European Union, the European Economic Area and Switzerland.

I requested my officials to review the cost of the standard ten-year adult Irish passport and to compare it to the cost of a similar passport in other jurisdictions. I am satisfied that, at a cost of €75 for an application made via Passport Online, which breaks down to €7.50 per year, the Irish passport fee compares favourably with services offered elsewhere. For example, an adult would have to pay €10 per year for a British passport, €8.60 per year for a French passport, €13 per year for an American passport and €18.50 per year for an Australian passport.

Based on the volume of passports issued in 2018, the Passport Service has calculated the potential annual cost of eliminating the passport application fee for applicants aged 65 and over to be approximately €5.5m. 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.