Cllr Peter 'Chap' Cleere says passport offices in many other countries are still open and are providing a reasonable level of service
Fianna Fáil councillor Peter ‘Chap’ Cleere is calling for the passport service to return to work due to the backlog of passports waiting to be processed.
“It is unacceptable that we are now at a point where we have a backlog of 75,500 passports,” said Cllr Cleere.
“The passport offices of most of our counterparts are still open and are providing a reasonable level of service. One only has to look across the water to Britain, which is also at the highest level of lockdown, to see quite a decent level of service being provided with regard to passports."
Figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade show there are approximately 500 passport online applications under process from Kilkenny, while the number of paper applications per county is not known.
“As an island nation, passports are unfortunately required for people to leave this island to travel to college, to work or for medical or emergency reasons," said Cllr Cleere.
"Many people need passports to open bank accounts, to apply for driving licences, to rent houses and even for matters as simple as getting a television or phone supplier. The passport service needs to return to work so that this backlog can be cleared, and people can be granted their passports."
In a written answer to a Dáil question, Minister Simon Coveney has said the Passport Service has a comprehensive plan in place to resume all services, in line with the National Framework for Living with Covid-19.
"When operations resume at Level 4, all applications received via Passport Online will be processed," the minister said.
"The Passport Service is confident, taking into account measures to ensure a safe workplace, that any Passport Online backlog can be cleared in six to eight weeks."