Travellers are still missing holidays because of a huge backlog of applications for Irish passports.
Around 170,000 people are currently waiting for new passports to be issued and the wait is particularly long for first time applications.
Speaking to The Hard Shoulder, on young mother said her daughter has been waiting months for a passport:
“It took us three months to get the birth cert,” Caoimhe explained.
“Our daughter was born mid-October and within six days of her being born we had heard about delays to the service for obtaining a birth cert."
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“So within a number of days of obtaining the birth cert, a week later we applied for the passport and 62 working days, 13 weeks later we are no further ahead.
“It looks like our envelope still hasn’t been opened - multiple daily calls to their service… [and] not being able to get through to someone.”
The family had planned to go away in April and felt increasingly anxious as the flight date loomed:
“When we eventually got through to someone, telling them that we had travel arrangements for the end of April, they had said, ‘Look we can make a memo on your chart but it’s down to whether or not someone picks up this memo whether your passports will be processed on time.’
“And unfortunately, two weeks later after our passports were supposed to be processed, [there’s] still no sign of them, still nothing on the tracker system.”
The family contacted a local TD but to no avail.
“Again, as I said, we’re extremely aware that there’s a lot more going on right now and a lot more important things than family holidays,” Caoimhe added wearily.
“But… maternity leave is over and it would have been nice to be able to say that within the two years and two babies that we got out of the country for a few days and got a bit of sunshine.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has blamed the delays on the huge volume of applications and that extra €10m has been set aside for passport services in 2022.
“The main issue that is driving pressure at the moment is just the sheer volume of applications,” he told the Dáil in March.
“It is just off the charts in terms of anything else we have experienced in recent years.
“We have had three months in a row now of record application numbers – as in the highest ever.
“I think it was 137,000 in January, it was over 150,000 in February and it will certainly be over 100,000 in March and in any previous year, we hadn’t gone over 100,00 in a month.”
Main image: The newly designed Irish passport. Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland