To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the improvements that have accrued in processing times and overall customer service with the introduction of an appointments structure at the main Dublin passport office; and if, in the interests of regional balance, consideration will be given to the establishment of a passport office in County Galway for the western region.
– Seán Kyne.
In June 2013 the Passport Office in Molesworth Street moved to a service whereby customers book, via a simple web based system, guaranteed time slots before travelling into the office. The public have responded very well to this new arrangement and in particular are very welcoming of the fact that the many hours previously spent queuing in the office has been eliminated. Customers are now in and out having lodged their application in approximately 10 minutes. From the customer perspective, the change has removed the necessity to queue for many hours. Additionally the office has extended the public opening hours from 09.30-16.30 to 09.00 -17.00. Over 200 people per day avail of this service during our peak times. A similar service commenced operation in Cork Office earlier this month.
The primary purpose of these public offices is to accommodate those with urgent travel needs. However the vast majority of applications annually are made by Passport Express through some 1,000 post offices across the country and some 70 post offices in Northern Ireland. This means that no Irish citizen on the island need travel a significant distance to renew a passport. The attraction and popularity of this service is reflected in the fact that so far this year over 93% of all persons applying for their passports in the State have used Passport Express.
I am satisfied that the range of service options meets the current demands of passport applicants.