Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow Stephen Donnelly has warned people intending on travelling later this summer to check that their passport is in date and to allow plenty of time when applying for a replacement document.
Deputy Donnelly made the comments after Fianna Fáil obtained new information which shows that people are now being forced to wait in excess of 35 days to obtain a new or replacement passport under the Passport Express Service.
Deputy Donnelly said, “The target time for first time passport applicants and those seeking to replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport through the An Post Passport Express is 20 days but the reality is far from this. The actual turnaround time is 35+ working days – a full three working weeks behind target.
“Every week I am contacted by Wicklow residents who are in danger of missing an opportunity to travel due to delays in processing passport applications. This can be particularly serious when people need to travel to visit a sick relative or attend a funeral. I’m encouraging people to check their passports and ensure that they apply for a replacement document well in advance of the expiry date. People need to allow 35 days for the application process, particularly when they are applying for a passport for a young child.
“The summer holiday season, like clockwork, happens every 12 months. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to the Government. There should have been a better plan put in place to address increasing application volumes. Fianna Fáil has been putting pressure on the Government to put in place additional resources, such as more printing machines for the Passport Express Service, to ensure that the target application dates are met.”