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Passport Services

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 November 2021

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Ceisteanna (246)

Paul Donnelly

Ceist:

246. Deputy Paul Donnelly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the reason there is no provision within the Passport Office for persons with hearing difficulties or that are profoundly deaf to communicate by telephone (details supplied). [58082/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The Department of Foreign Affairs recognizes the right of Irish Sign Language users to use Irish Sign Language as their native language in accordance with the Irish Sign Language Act 2017.

The Passport Service, as a public office, has a number of staff members who are available to interpret with members of the public availing of its passport services. A member of the public who may require the assistance of an Irish Sign Language Interpreter during an appointment at the public office can indicate this when booking their appointment online. A dedicated member of staff will be available to interpret and assist during their appointment.

Passport Customer Service is available Monday to Friday, from 9am to 4:30pm by WebChat on my Department's website (www.dfa.ie/passports). The WebChat facility offers all customers live interaction with customer service officers who can advise on matters relating to the passport application process.

Customers can also contact my Department's Disability Inquiry Officer via the website (www.dfa.ie/about-us/contact-us/) and their case will be communicated to the Passport Service who can facilitate their request.

In order to safeguard the privacy of customers, the Passport Service must obtain explicit consent from a passport applicant before relaying information regarding their application to a third party.

In the absence of any identifying details in this case, the Passport Service is unable to comment further on the specific incident raised by the Deputy and regrets if any inconvenience has been caused. The Passport Service would be happy to contact the customer involved directly for further follow up.

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