Over 50,000 people in Ireland are waiting for passports; Civic groups called for the resumption of services
DUBLIN: Passport applications of 57,000 people in Ireland revealed to have been left unprocessed.
Passport applications are still pending as services have been suspended under Level 5 restrictions since December.
Several civic organizations have come forward to criticize the government’s slow pace. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties said it could not understand why such services, which are most essential, could not be provided at present.
Liam Herrick, Executive Director of the organization, said that passports are required for travel and identification and that the issuance of passports should resume as soon as possible.
The Immigrant Council of Ireland also revealed that it had received several calls from immigrants who had applied for passports just before the lockdown.
The identity documents of thousands of people are also in the passport office. Identification documents are required to avail services in employment, education and housing.
Applicants are requested not to submit documents including birth certificate and passport along with the application but it is said that those already submitted are kept safe.
The passport office said the documents will be returned within 20 working days of the start of online processing services, which will resume at level 4.
Emergency service for the needy starting this week
The department said it will process passport applications starting this week for those who show evidence of travel for work, education, travel, attending funerals, visiting relatives in need of care or attending family events.
The Department of Foreign Affairs says emergency services are being offered online and applicants should contact the Passport Offices web chat function (Customer Service Hub Webchat function) if there are any valid reasons.
However, the department sources said that the processing of regular paper applications will not be resumed till Level 3 is reached.
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