Holidaymakers are being warned to check their passports are in date as soon as possible as sheer demand has led to longer processing times for the essential documents.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has recommended prospective travellers allow six weeks to apply for their new passport.
The department has drafted in 233 temporary clerical workers so far this year — 62 more than last year — to respond to the increased demand as well as redistributing processing work and redeploying staff from other areas of the department as needed.
Nonetheless, applications submitted via Passport Express are taking up to 13 working days for renewals with first-time applications taking up to 21 working days. The normal turnaround for the former is 10 work days.
“This year, demand has been extremely high for a sustained period of months,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Charles Flanagan.
“This corresponds to the Central Statistics Office [CSO] data which indicates that the total number of overseas trips made by Irish residents during the period January to March 2016 increased by 13.1% over the same period last year.
“The trend is positive in economic terms and it points to a vibrant travel industry but it has resulted in pressures on the Passport Service due to the exceptional increase in the number of applications received.”
He said applicants travelling in three weeks or less should make an appointment to attend the Passport Office in Dublin or Cork in person. Appointments can be made online at www.passportappointments.ie.
“People with urgent travel within three days can use the Rapid Renewal Service at the Dublin Passport Office,” said Mr Flanagan.
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