Satellite Passport Office should be opened in County Clare.

June 17th, 2010 - Pat Breen

Given the recent controversy over passports which resulted in a backlog of up to 67,737 applications at the Dublin Passport Office, Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen is calling on the Minister for Foreign Affairs Michael Martin to open a satellite passport office in County Clare.

“On the 20th April last, there was backlog of 67,737 passport applications at the Dublin Passport office; and people lost out on trips abroad simply because their passport was out of date. Even with the Passport Express Service, it is now taking up to 22 working days before passports are issued, whereas heretofore, people had a 10 day guarantee that their passport would be issued.

“The chaos which we witnessed at the Dublin Passport Office should not be allowed to undermine a person’s right to travel and the Foreign Affairs Minister must ensure that additional satellite offices are set up outside of Dublin and Cork to alleviate the situation and facilitate people living outside of those areas.”

“To that end I believe that a passport office should be opened here in County Clare. which would allow easy access for people not alone in County Clare but in the neighbouring counties of Galway, Limerick and North Tipperary. There are many cases as well where people have to travel abroad at short notice to attend funerals or other family crisis; and if an office was located here they would not have to travel to Dublin or Cork to get their emergency passport issued.”

“I raised this matter last week with Minister Martin and I welcome his initial response which indicates that he is currently examining the possibility of putting in place further contingency arrangements for the production of passports. I would urge Minister Martin to consider County Clare as part of his contingency arrangements, at the very least he should consider providing a passport information kiosk in Shannon Airport. People often arrive at Shannon Airport only to find that they have problems with their passport and the provision of this kiosk would provide immediate and essential information for anyone experiencing problems with their passport while travelling.”

“For far too long services are being removed from County Clare, Minister Martin now has a golden opportunity to reverse that trend and locate a passport office in County Clare.