Local Fianna Fáil TD and Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien has said that additional resources must be allocated to deal with the increased demand in passport applications andinquiries.

In information received by the Deputy through parliamentary question, it is believed that a total of 230 Clerical Officers will be recruited into the Department on a temporary basis.

“In 2016 just over 730,000 passports were issued. This represented an increase of over 9% on the year before and demand continues to be very strong so far this year,” explained the Deputy.

“The current processing times for the passport service are under significant pressure with minimal staff resources. Broader customer service improvements need to be rolled out by the Department to better assist the management of growing demand.

“Early indicators in 2017 are showing that increased demands for passports are set to continue especially in light of the British vote to leave the European Union. In fact, latest figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs show that passport applications from the UK were up 74% in January compared to the same time last year.

“The 230 temporary posts that have been promised as part of the Passport Reform Programme must be made permanent to minimise the impact of the high demand on turnaround times and on customer service.

“Temporary positions will simply not suffice in offering the level of support that is necessary to meet these growing demands on existing staff in Balbriggan,” concluded O’Brien.