As a result of a “significant pent-up capacity demand” for passports, the Department of Foreign Affairs warned that it may have to process 1.75 million passport applications next year.
The department has never reached an annual figure of one million before while adding that it was the single biggest operational challenge they would face in the year 2022.
An additional €18 million in funding will be required for 300 staff while the department is in discussions with the Office of Public Works (OPW) about fitting out extra office space.
The department also warned that it was facing an estimated €12 million bill for its annual contribution to the UN.
A further 1.75 million would be needed to open new consulates in Lyon, Toronto and Miami while also being hit with a €3 million bill for running the long-awaited referendum on voting rights in presidential elections.
However, a massive backlog in passports is the department’s primary concern, according to correspondence with the Department of Public Expenditure.
A letter from Joe Hackett ‘Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary-General’ stated, “As international travel reopens at an increasing pace every day this will create a significant surge in passport applications over the next 12 months as citizens plan and organise foreign travel.”
He added, “A mid-level estimate is that there could be 1.75 million passport applications next year. To put this in context, the highest number of applications previously processed was in 2019, pre-Covid-19, when circa 950,000 applications were received. This is nearly a doubling of applications.”
IMAGE – “Simon Carbery Coveney” (CC BY 2.0) by EU2017EE