There are currently 112,000 applications outstanding with the Passport Service as people prepare for overseas travel and holidays towards the end of the summer.
Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has expressed deep concerns at the number of backlogged passport applications this year.
So far to date in 2021 alone, the Passport Service has received almost 400,000 passport applications.
Despite Passport Service staff’s best efforts to work through all the requests, including working long hours and in some cases on weekends, it appears there isn’t enough staffing to meet demand.
Figures released to the Wicklow TD reveal that there are 112,000 applications currently sitting with the Passport Service.
50,000 of these applications require additional documentation, and a further 62,000 applications are awaiting review the Passport Service.
In Wicklow there are 1432 applications waiting to be processed.
During normal times there is a core staff of around 450 employed within the passport section of the Department of Foreign Affairs, which is increased during peak season to around 650.
However, aat present staff numbers are significantly reduced, with only about 500 personnel in total being left to deal with demands.
TD Brady said: “The backlog in processing passport applications is down to the failure of the government to put in place sufficient supports for the passport service during this the busiest time of the year.
“There can be no doubt as to the effort that the staff and management in the passport service are putting in to deal with both the backlog accrued over Covid, and the deluge of applications coming forward at this point, which is the peak period for passport applications.”
“I am calling upon the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, as the individual who bears the ultimate responsibility for his department, to ensure that there are sufficient staff on hand to deal with demand at this time,” he continued. “The responsibility lies with Minister Coveney, and he must act accordingly.”