A couple who said they called the passport office up to 800 times in one day to try to get their six-month-old a passport had to cancel their holiday to Portugal at the last minute when they could not secure the document.
Aideen and Liam Moen from Co Armagh submitted baby Thomas’s first passport application at the start of February, but they have now missed out on plans to bring him to his grandmother’s 60th birthday in Portugal this weekend as his passport never arrived.
Ms Moen contacted a number of politicians in the run-up to the holiday, and Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald’s office even got in touch with the passport office on their behalf but they were unable to do anything.
“The entire process has been extremely frustrating, we are so upset to be missing out on our first trip abroad in three years, and Thomas’s first ever holiday. Eighteen of my husband’s family members have just landed in Portugal, we really wanted to be there,” she said.
“I had to cancel our hotel on Monday, but we were still holding out hope we might get the passport on time to make our flight this morning, even if it meant I had to drive to Dublin with my baby in the car,” she added.
Ms Moen’s sister-in-law was also unable to go on the holiday as her passport failed to arrive on time after she renewed it in January.
“My husband has spent so much time ringing the passport office from work, and as I’m on maternity leave I’ve been endlessly calling and refreshing browser tabs for weeks while looking after my baby. It’s been so hectic that we couldn’t even enjoy the build-up to the holiday, as we were never sure if we’d get to go,” Ms Moen said.
The flight the Moens were meant to be on took off on Friday morning. Though they have been told Thomas’s passport is now in the process of being printed, there is still no sign of it.
There are currently 195,000 outstanding passport applications, and people across the country are growing increasingly frustrated as they are no longer able to check the status of their applications online.
Both opposition and government TDs are getting 50 to 60 passport delay queries each week, buton how many cases they can raise with the passport office weekly.