The redesign of the Irish passport is an opportunity to pay tribute to the beautiful Irish plants and animals that are struggling due to biodiversity loss.
The document is set for a major upgrade in a bid to stay ahead of fraudsters – with the Irish people to be asked for their input on the artistic design.
The current passport design is now 10 years old and the Tánaiste Micheál Martin will today tell Cabinet that it needs new security features and an updated take on Irish culture and values.
While the public will be asked for their thoughts on the images that should be used inside the booklet, the design team is believed to be focused on themes related to Ireland’s natural environment.
A department official said people will be asked to choose aspects of Ireland’s diverse flora and fauna to help shape the passport design.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Dublin Theatre Festival Artistic Director Willie White said the new document should ensure people have something more beautiful to remind them of home when travelling.
“Who is the passport for?” he asked. “It’s not for the person you hand it over to for a few seconds when you’re going through passport control, it is for you.
“So, what’s the image of Ireland you want to carry around in your hand?
“When you open a page of your passport book does this say to you, this is a beautiful piece of graphic design or does it say to you, this is an accomplished piece of security?”
He said it is a good idea to highlight the country’s plants and animals, “because they’re in crisis at the moment, with everything that is going on with the planet”.
“We have beautiful orchids in the Burren,” he said. “Foxes, we see them all over the city, there’s the hares up in Dublin Airport.
“I think it would be great to have something a bit more natural to remind us [of home].”
Speaking on his way into Cabinet this morning, the Tánaiste Michéal Martin said his department is working towards a more efficient passport service.
“We’re consistently working to make it better,” he said.
“We have made big improvements this year in terms of birth certs online for example and working with the registration office which really removes the need for the presentation of physical birth certs.
“[There have been] a lot of efficiencies and a lot of improvements in our passport service and we have continued to recruit staff.”
Mr White said the current passport is very much a “picture of the time and headspace we were in in 2013”.
“The economy was taking off again and we wanted to show all our impressive heritage and our big buildings,” he said.
“I suppose the idea that we can now incorporate the flora and the fauna means we might have something, to my eyes, a bit more beautiful.”
The online survey will be launched later this month and is expected to take about five minutes to complete.
It is hoped the first of the new passports will be issued in 2025.