Tipp Senator hopeful passport office recruitment will help clear backlog

A Tipperary Senator believes that an increase in staff in the next month should alleviate pressure on the passport offices.

Fine Gael Senator Garret Ahearn tabled a motion in the Seanad calling for the staff to double to 900.

There has been an increase of 150 percent in the passports being processed compared to this time last year, with the backlog largely due to first time applications.

Speaking on Tipp Today, Senator Ahearn said that sending out reminders about passports expiring and putting details on holiday booking forms would be practical steps, as well as these measures.

“I’ve asked for an increase in staff, which is going to happen by the end of March, which is really good, it will double from what it was in June, from 450 people to 900.

“But, there’s other things that we could do, the passport office could work seven days a week on a rota basis, as opposed to five, just for certainly the first six months of this year, when it’s obviously going to be a busy time.”

Senator Ahearn said that anyone who has applied and is sending on additional information should not be put at the bottom of the queue.

He told Tipp Today that the pressure on the system is largely due to first time applications, mostly for children who couldn’t travel due to restrictions.