Crisis at the passport office raised in the Dail
A Donegal TD claims that staff in his office are often struggling with an unresponsive passport service and find it almost impossible to even get someone to speak to.
With the holiday season fast approaching Independent TD Thomas Pringle, said his office is inundated with queries and complaints and claims the passport system seems to be completely unequipped to deal with the demand.
"Something must be done," he says.
Addressing the Dáil yesterday (Thursday) during statements on passport services, Deputy Pringle took the opportunity to commend his own staff in Donegal who has been dealing with a continuous stream of passport issues over the last few months.
“My staff are still calling on behalf of constituents waiting for passports since February, and that’s just not acceptable. They have been struggling with an unresponsive passport service, I have to say.
“It is nearly impossible to get through to the passport service through the normal channels and the Oireachtas line is rarely answered, in our experience. Oftentimes whole days go by without being able to get through."
There is also a serious issue with inconsistency within the passport service, he claims.
“The information given on the criteria for escalating a passport varies considerably, depending on who takes the call.
“The system seems to be completely unequipped to deal with the demand. You’d wonder why this is. We knew this was going to happen – why didn’t we prepare for it?” he said.
The deputy said that with passports lasting for 10 years and a limited number of Irish people in Ireland, “it’s probably the one service that’s probably possible to actually plan for, and plan for accurately”.
He added he recognised that TDs only deal with the problem cases but these are issues that are very important to people at the time they seek to renew a passport.
“It’s something they only apply for once every 10 years and it’s something that the system should be able to deal with.
“Issues with the passport service need to be addressed and it’s been going on too long at this stage.
“At one time it used to be people just weren’t applying for their passport in time to get it processed. Now their passports have been there for an awfully long time and nothing’s happened to them. Something needs to happen and it needs to happen quickly,” added Deputy Pringle.
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