From Declan Breathnach, TD (13th July 2016)
To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will consider the establishment of a passport office in County Louth, given the result of the British referendum on exiting the European Union and increase in applications from Northern Ireland, to make it easier for persons from the north east and north west to access the service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21454/16]
From Minister Charles Flanagan, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
The vast majority of passport applications from both sides of the border are made through the post office networks on this island. This remains the most efficient and cost effective way to apply and applications can be submitted at some 70 post offices in Northern Ireland.
An appointment service is in operation in the Passport Offices in Dublin and Cork. This service provides flexibility in allowing customers to book guaranteed time slots between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. It removes the necessity for the smaller number of citizens who need their passports for urgent travel reasons to queue and ensures that waiting times at public counters are minimised.
From early next year an on-line option for passport renewal for adults will be offered to citizens, whether they are based on the island of Ireland or abroad.
I am satisfied that the existing range of service options meets the current needs of passport applicants. I am also confident that the introduction of the on-line application option should result in significant efficiencies and reduced turnaround times for passport renewals generally, even with the increase in applications expected from Northern Ireland in the years ahead.