No major capital investment required to fund the location of a Passport Office – BREEN.

July 9th, 2010 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen put the case for the decentralisation of a satellite Passport Office to the Mid-West Region when he dealt with Priority Questions to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Michael Martin in Dail Eireann on Tuesday afternoon on behalf of Fine Gael.

Questioning Minister Michael Martin on the steps he is taking to clear the backlog of applications for passports Deputy Breen said that “it still takes 15-20 working days to process a passport and this is not good enough. As someone who attends the Passport Office on a weekly basis that applicants must still spend hours is frustrating. It is frustrating for the staff. Every time I have been in the office, I have seen an argument because of people’s frustrations. This problem must be eliminated.”

“While Minister Martin confirmed that additional 50 staff has been recruited to help clear the backlog, the demand for passports this year is running at 13.8% higher than it was at this time in 2009. This increase is not surprising considering the number of people who are now emigrating because of the failed polices of this Government which have left them with no hope of gaining employment here in the short-term.”

“Building on the success of the passport office in Cork and given the fact that the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food office was closed down in Ennis, I believe that the Mid-West would be an ideal location for an additional passport office.”

“Minister Martin claims that the extension of the service is subject to capital funding, however, the Government owns the Dept of Agriculture Building on the Kilrush Road, so no major capital investment would be required and I understand that the staff who were working in this office have not yet been reassigned to other duties so I would urge the Minister to take this into consideration before he makes any decision on extending the passport service outside of Dublin and Cork.”