Given that I am from County Cork, this is a particularly pointed question, which is fair enough.
The Passport Service of my Department is one unified service composed of three constituent offices located in Lower Mount Street and Balbriggan in Dublin and South Mall in Cork. It operates three passport printing machines, two of which are located in the main production facility in Balbriggan, County Dublin, with another in the Passport Office in Lower Mount Street, Dublin. Passport applications from citizens residing in Ireland or elsewhere in the world are distributed for processing across the three Passport Offices. All passport applications are processed through the centralised automated passport service system. All production facilities can print a passport, irrespective of the channel through which the application is processed. The printing system allows for flexibility between printing machines if any one machine has reached capacity. Each passport printer has a printing capacity of 250 passports per hour.
The purchase cost of a new passport printing machine is in excess of €1.7 million, excluding the cost of security, maintenance, technical fit-out, staffing or rental costs. Given the current capacity for printing and the costs involved, installing further passport printing facilities in the Passport Office in Cork is not required at this time. I am satisfied that the printing capacity of production equipment currently employed by the Passport Service is sufficient to meet the current and anticipated future demand for passports. There are no plans at this time to commission additional passport production equipment or sites.
The Passport Office in Cork can facilitate the issuance on the spot of an emergency passport where there is an urgent need to travel for medical reasons or due to a bereavement abroad. In the relatively small number of non-emergency cases where citizens require a rapid turnaround on their passport application, applicants can either book an appointment at the Passport Office in Dublin and have the application processed that day, or book an appointment for the Passport Office in Cork and have it processed within three working days.