A baby has been unable to meet his sick granny because delays at the passport office mean he is still without a travel document six months after applying.
Pooja Sawant applied for her son, Nevaan, on 5th October soon after his birth. However, months have since passed and they are none the wiser as to when the precious document will arrive:
“My husband’s Mum is a cancer survivor and she recently had a bone marrow transplant,” Ms Sawant explained to The Hard Shoulder.
“So it’s a life threatening surgery and he wanted to be with his Mum so he could take care of her and support her in her recovery.
“And of course she wanted to meet her grandson before she went into surgery - he would help keep her upbeat.
“So we wanted to travel before her surgery but here we are, we couldn’t go.
“Thankfully, the surgery went well, she’s recovering now and we really want to be with her but we don’t know when we’ll get to go to India, honestly.”
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Originally they were given an estimate of two months but December passed and nothing arrived. Even now they are none the wiser as to when the passport might arrive:
“We spend almost one hour every day trying to get through the chat service but it’s always busy,” Ms Sawant continued.
“It’s always not available and when you do get through it’s almost like you’re talking to a bot.”
Nevaan is entitled to an Indian passport. However, claiming it would mean giving up his right to Irish citizenship and the Sawants feel Ireland offers him the chance of better life:
“My husband had to choose whether his son will get an Irish passport or he can be with his Mum and unfortunately we had to choose the life for our son because if we get him an Indian passport he loses his right to citizenship for the next couple of years and he can reapply when we get naturalised and I don’t know how long that will take,” she continued.
“You’re kind of in a fix whether you can be with your Mum or have a better life for your child and it’s not a decision a new Mum should be making!
“It’s supposed to be simple, your postpartum journey is supposed to be happy and nice and filled with family and support and not stressing over when you will receive your child’s passport.”
'Essentially an emergency'
Delays at the passport office have previously been described by one Senator as “essentially an emergency”.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast about the issue in February, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney acknowledged the problem and said:
"It is true: at the moment it's taking about 40 working days for a first-time, online application.
"That's a problem and we have to get that turnaround time down, and we will.
"And we are putting more people on the phones".
Main image: An Irish passport.