‘Significant delays’ in passports for children being produced, Tánaiste says

There are “significant delays” with passports for children being produced, in particular for foreign-born children, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said.

Mr Varadkar said more passports were being produced every week “than ever was the case before”, but there was pent-up demand for them due to the Covid-19 pandemic and consequently “very significant delays” for new passports other than renewals.

He said extra staff were being allocated to help with passport and work permit delays, adding that “we will get over the backlog at some point”.

The Tánaiste was responding to Independent TD Michael Collins in the Dáil on Thursday, who said there was “a massive issue with passports in this country”.

The Cork South-West TD said that in some cases infants were not able to get a passport for 40 days.

“If there’s a small problem, it goes on for two months,” he said. “It’s very unfair, people have had to cancel their holidays.”

‘Huge issue’

Mr Varadkar said passports were “a huge issue” coming through his constituency office and that other TDs were likely having the same experience.

“The situation with renewals is actually now pretty good, the renewals are happening quite fast, but we’re having very significant delays with new passports and passports for children and foreign-born children in particular,” he said.

“Some of that is down to the work that has to be done before the passport can be approved. What’s happened in simple terms is there’s been a huge surge in passport applications and passport renewals.

“The Passport Office staff are working very hard, there’s more of them than there used to be in the past, there’s been a big increase in staff and we’re actually now producing more passports every week than ever was the case before.

“The demand and pent-up demand, that’s a snapback demand from the pandemic, has put us in a difficult position both in terms of passports and work permits, but we are putting lots of extra staff into those areas and we will get over the backlog at some point.”

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