Friday, 6th November 2015

“The proposed reform of the passport system will make it more efficient for applicants and could also free up the Gardaí from passport related administrative duties,” says Fine Gael TD for Kildare North, Anthony Lawlor.

“The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, is overseeing a comprehensive reform of the passport system to make it a more efficient streamlined service.

“In response to my recent Dáil questions on the matter, Minister Flanagan confirmed that the passport reform programme announced in Budget 2016 will see the use of new technologies to completely re-shape how passports are delivered over the next three years.

“It is envisaged that, for the first time, adults wishing to renew their passports will be able to do so online. This will mean a more efficient renewal process and should greatly help in preventing backlogs in the system. This is obviously good news for holiday makers and business travellers.

“I am also pleased to note that Minister Flanagan is very aware of the additional workload placed on An Garda Síochána in witnessing passport applications. In recognition of this, the Passport Service is reviewing the witnessing process and I hope this will result in freeing up Gardaí from passport related administrative duties, which will help strengthen Garda activity in other areas such as fighting crime.

“The new Passport Card, launched last month, is being used in part to pilot an online application system, and a wider scoping study is also underway in relation to the proposed new reforms.

“The new system will also focus on combatting passport fraud through the introduction of a number of new identity and anti-fraud measures, which is extremely welcome.”