Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has said there is an urgent need to establish a passport office in the North East of the country.
By way of parliamentary question, Deputy Smith urged the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, to establish a much-needed passport office within the province of Ulster.
The local Fianna Fáil TD said, “I believe that a passport office located in Cavan Town would be very suitable to provide a better passport service for people in the North East and North West of our country.
“As there are large numbers of people within all of the province of Ulster using Irish passports, I am of the view that the northern half of our country should have a full passport office. Such offices should not be confined to the two largest centres of population in the country.”
In response to Deputy Smith’s question, Minister Coveney stated that “Passport Online is the priority channel for applications as there are many efficiencies built into the system for both the applicant and the Passport Service. The Passport Online service offers Irish citizens the ability to apply online for their passport 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is a user-friendly, efficient service that consistently offers processing times up to 4 times faster than paper-based passport renewal applications.”
The Minister went on to say that “I am satisfied overall that the range of service options available meets the current needs of passport applicants and that recent service improvements allow the Passport Service to provide this essential citizen service in an efficient and effective manner.”
Deputy Smith was unsatisfied with the Ministers response and said that people should be able to access in person government services, within reason.
“Everyone is not familiar or confident enough to transact business online and people should have the option of going to a public office.
“I don’t share the view of the Minister that recent service improvements allow the Passport Service to sufficiently provide this essential citizen service in an efficient and effective manner. That clearly is not the case at present with unacceptable delays in the processing of passport applications.
“I will continue to highlight the clear need for a passport office in the North East on behalf of the people of Cavan-Monaghan,” concluded Brendan Smith TD