The Department of Foreign Affairs is being urged to facilitate the establishment of a dedicated passport printing service in Cork to help ease pressure on the service that exists for "the whole of the country" in Dublin.
The call comes from Cork Senator and FF's Leader of Seanad Éireann Jerry Buttimer.
“At this time of the year, my office and the offices of all public representatives are experiencing a large number of enquires in relation to delayed passport applications," Jerry told us.
He pointed out that "while the staff in the passport office in Cork and the Department are extremely helpful and efficient in these situations", 70,000 applications were delayed in March of this year.
“There are two passport printing facilities in the State; both are in Dublin and this is not acceptable," he pointed out.
“People from Cork and the Munster region are left with no other option in emergency situations than travelling at their own expense to Dublin to collect a passport when a travel date is imminent."
800,000 passport applications were received by the passport office last year, they were all printed in one location; Dublin. "The establishment of a printing service in Cork would be worth the investment for the benefits it would bring in terms of efficiency. A printing facility in Cork would stop this, and allow people to travel a much shorter distance," he explained.
He added" “I advise everyone to check that their passport is in date at least 8 weeks in advance of travel. Applying for a passport with a flight time looming just brings a lot of unnecessary stress on people.
“The Passport Express service for all applications was centralised in Dublin in recent years. If printing facilities were available in Cork we could reduce turnaround times for applications originating in Munster.
“While it must be acknowledged that an additional 220 temporary staff have been recruited for the passport offices to reduce the large backlog, a printing facility in Cork would be a long term solution to this problem."