Passport backlog includes more than 2,500 in Cork

Passport backlog includes more than 2,500 in Cork

More than 2,500 people in Cork are among those caught in the large backlog of passport applications, according to new figures released by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The Cork figure of 2,591 is second only to the 6,813 online applications from Dublin, which contribute to the Passport Service logjam. The delays have been thrown into sharper focus with the lifting of restrictions, as a large increase in foreign travel is expected this year.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has been trying to double its workforce in the Passport Office to cope with the increased demand, with as many as 1.7m applications expected in 2022. An additional €10m was also allocated to the service under Budget 2022.

In pre-pandemic times, the highest number of applications received in one year was in the region of 1m. During Covid restrictions, all but emergency cases were suspended at the Passport Service, which led to a large increase in the backlog which now stretches to over 110,000.

The Irish Examiner has reported on calls to set up a second passport printing machine in Cork to deal with the massive influx of applications.

While the current turnaround times are as high as 40 working days for first-time applications to the online service, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has said many of the applications in the system have incomplete information, which is lengthening the process.

In response to a parliamentary question, he said: “Passport Service figures show that 45% of current applications are incomplete and the onus is on the applicant to submit the required documents to the service.

“While the Passport Service makes every effort to contact applicants in such circumstances, their experience is that many applicants take weeks and sometimes months to send in the necessary documents.” 

There are more than 30,000 first-time applications currently in the system, and 13,000 of these have incomplete documentation, according to the minister.

Alongside Dublin and Cork, there are 1,000 outstanding applications

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