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Passport applications backlog will overwhelm system, travel agents warn


A backlog of passport applications threatens to overwhelm the applications system if it is not tackled now, Travel agents warn.

The Irish Travel Agents’ Association (ITAA) called on the Department of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday to re-open passport offices to clear a backlog of applications before international travel resumes.

Pat Dawson, the association’s chief executive, warned the build-up would overwhelm the system, drastically slowing the travel industry’s recovery.

Clearing the backlog now will speed up recovery in in- and out-bound travel when it is safe to do so, his group argues.

Mr Dawson said the ITAA was seeking clarification from the department.

“There is a pent-up demand for travel; people have been through enough during this year in lockdown, and these passport delays will only be another obstacle in the way of things returning to normal,” he said.

Backlog

“This delay in passport renewals will also further impact our industry, as it will take at least two months to clear the backlog and customers who want to book holidays after the quarantine is lifted will be forced to wait for their passport application to be approved.”

Applications and renewals can still be made through passport online and the department will process requests when the service resumes.

However, it has advised against sending supporting documents to embassies and consulates.

Currently the service is only available to those who need to travel because of the death or serious illness of a family member or under other guidelines.



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