THE Department of Foreign Affairs and the Passport Office are being called upon to work to process outstanding passport applications.
The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) is making the calls to avoid a backlog of applications when international travel resumes fully.
The association, headed up by Cork travel agent Pat Dawson, has expressed its frustration at delays in issuing passports, meaning that some consumers have had to cancel their travel plans.
Mr Dawson, CEO of the ITAA, said: “The passport offices in both Dublin and Cork should be open as an essential service, to allow consumers to apply for passports and renew existing passports.
“It will take months to clear the current backlog, and customers who want to book holidays will be forced to wait for their passport application to be approved.
“The system will be overwhelmed by the backlog in passport renewals and applications, and this will drastically slow the economic recovery of the travel sector both at home and abroad.”
Mr Dawson, who is also the owner of Dawson Travel in Cork City, continued: “There is a pent-up demand for travel; people have been through enough during the past 18 months, and these passport delays will only be another obstacle in the way of things returning to normal.”