Clare T.D. and Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pat Breen T.D., has today (Monday) welcomed the introduction of the new passport card saying that it will benefit frequent travellers and young people.
“The launch of the new passport card by Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan is a very welcome development which will particularly benefit frequent travellers and young people.
This credit sized passport will be made available at a cost of €35 from mid-July 2015 to all Irish Citizens who are over the age of 18 years and who hold a valid Irish passport. It can be used for travel to EU and EEA Countries and will be valid for a maximum of five years or for the remaining validity of an individual’s passport book.
Given the high density of FDI’s located in the Mid-West Region, the new passport will be particularly handy for business travellers who regularly fly from Shannon Airport, some of whom on occasion have had to delay their EU Travel while they awaited the return of their passports from various embassies when they applied for visas for long haul business trips.
The new card will also be very useful for young people. Every year, I assist large numbers of young people who lose their passports abroad or who have had their passports stolen while they are on a night out when their use their passport for identification purposes. This new passport will be easier to store in their wallet or bag and it will be cheaper to replace in the event that it is lost or stolen.
In recent years the Passport Office has introduced a number of changes which are having a very positive affect on the delivery of the service. In late 2013, a newly designed Passport which incorporated a polycarbonate data page with enhanced security features and included an image of the Cliffs of Moher was introduced. The Passport Express Service has been extended and a new appointment service was introduced in Molesworth Street to eliminate queuing times.
As well as introducing this new passport card, on this occasion, a further innovation will see the introduction of a Smartphone App. Persons who wish to apply for his new card will be able to do so through the App and it will include the facility for a passport standard selfie.
Last year, the Passport Office issued 629,446 passports and 389,727 were issued to adults and there was a 3.3% increase in the number of applications received through the Passport Express Service at 463,806. And every year of course, the busiest months are May and June and 2014 was no exception with 82,564 passports issued in May and 76,314 passports in June.
While significant changes have been made to our Passport Issuing System over the past few years, I would still urge those people who intend travelling abroad to apply on time for their passport. This will make sure that their passports are renewed in time particularly as a number of countries have a system in operation whereby you are not permitted to travel if your passport expires within 6 months.