An Post Passport Express service 'outdated and misleading', says TD

Fine Gael TD Emer Higgins described the services as the "slowest possible way of getting a passport"
An Post Passport Express service 'outdated and misleading', says TD

Muireann Duffy

Fine Gael TD Emer Higgins has called on An Post to change the name of its Passport Express service, describing it as “outdated and misleading”.

Ms Higgins told RTÉ Radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show that the service had been introduced before it became possible to renew passports online – which, she said, is now a quicker and cheaper option.

“I get contacted regularly by people who have concerns about passport applications, and it's particularly frustrating for people to find out that they have inadvertently opted for the slowest possible way of getting a passport”.

Ms Higgins added that she had raised the issue with Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, who told her he would speak to An Post about the issue.

Applications

There were record-breaking volumes of passport applications at present, she said, with half a million more applications expected this year.

To date this year, the passport office to date has already processed 80 per cent of the total number of applications that were issued last year, which was also a record-breaking year, she added.

Ms Higgins said 5,000 passports were being processed every day. More staff were needed in the passport office, she said, welcoming the announcement that new staff started last week.

“There has been a doubling of people in the passport office in the space of a year and that's a significant investment and what we need.”

Ms Higgins called for investment in new technology which would identify photographs that did not meet the necessary criteria earlier in the application process.

Renewing a passport can be stressful, she said, with some of her constituents reporting problems with the garda signature, which could be as simple as a date on an application that does not correspond with a station logbook.

There was no reason why the problem could not be solved online, instead of relying on people to make phone calls to Garda stations, she added.

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