Travellers are being warned they risk missing out on that holiday in the sun this year if they rely on the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Passport Express service, which remains suspended due to ongoing huge demand for passports and renewals.
SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack has warned holiday-makers who need to renew or apply for their passports that the ten day express turnaround service is not available.
“On speaking to the Passport Office, while trying to progress an application, I was made aware that the ten working day turnaround facility is not available at the moment due to the sheer volume of applications in the system.
“This service was suspended a couple of months ago now but I fear the public here may not be aware and therefore will not give themselves enough to time to obtain their passport before their holidays.
“At the minute I am getting a lot of calls from people experiencing a very anxious and stressful wait,” she said.
The Irish Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Charlie Flanagan recently revealed there were more than 250,000 applications for new passports and passport renewals in the first quarter of the 2017 calendar year - up 26 per cent on the first quarter of 2016 and the continuing demand is putting pressure on the Passport Office.
Colr. Cusack warned: “There is no indication as yet when this will resume , but as it’s peak time I wouldn’t expect it to be in the near future. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who deal with applications are advising people not to book travel until their valid passport is received. I would advise the same so as to avoid any disappointment or financial loss as insurers may not cover you should you be unable to travel.”