Embassy staff should be called back to deal with passport delays – Govt TD

The passport service is not fit for purpose and staff should now be brought in from embassies around the world to deal with the situation, a government TD has said.

Mayo TD Michael Ring said his office staff spent 60% of their time dealing with passport issues each day, calling the situation “outrageous”.

He made his comments on RTE’s Morning Ireland programme.

He said families are missing their vacations and getting no response from the passport office. “They call over a hundred times – can’t get through, can’t get an answer.”

He said the system requiring applicants to bring their children to childcare is outdated.

The passport office must then call the guard post to verify the details, he said. However, he said many guard stations across the country are only open for half an hour a day, or only on certain days, so passport staff are unable to get an answer. .

“It’s an old system, which has been going on for a hundred years,” he said. The Ring deputy said that this system should now be completely digital and that Gardai should be able to send forms by email.

“We expect a public service. People have the right to get their passports, and to get their passports within a reasonable time,” he said.

“In countries I’ve never heard of, we have big embassies. Bring those staff back now and make sure the people of that country get the passports they’re entitled to,” said MP Ring.

He said staff deal with passports overseas, so they can come back to Ireland and deal with it here.

Earlier this week it emerged that An Post had rebranded its passport application service from ‘Passport Express’ to ‘Post Passport’.

The change came after complaints that the name was misleading and that it was not the fastest way to get a passport.

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