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Department of Foreign Affairs reports backlog of UK applications for Irish passports

The Department said it tackled more than 30,000 “complex foreign birth registrations”, including British citizens looking for Irish passports after Brexit

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it tackled a backlog of more than 30,000 “complex foreign birth registrations”, including British citizens looking for Irish passports after Brexit.

A new system to speed up passport applications was introduced this summer after the department confirmed it was struggling to cope with demand as Covid-19 restrictions eased.

In a letter to the Department of Public Expenditure, it asked for an extra €15m in funding this year to ensure that it wasn’t snowed under with applications and to help pay for the new passport reform programme.

The department said they had been granted an extra €10m for the year to help process 1.2 million passports.

It said that funding would need to remain at the same level top cope with the expected passport applications of 1.2 million in 2023, the Irish Examiner reports.

In the letter, department secretary general Joe Hackett wrote: “During 2022, we have seen multiple record months for the number of applications received.

“As you are aware, we encountered some customer service issues, particularly in relation to our call centre. This was primarily due to the challenges in the recruitment of staff. I am pleased that these issues have now been resolved.”

Mr Hackett said the extra funding would also be used to work through the 30,000-long “complex foreign birth registration applications” backlog.

He explained that many of these applications were made by British citizens who wanted to opt for Irish passports after Brexit.

He added that the department needed experienced passport staff to tackle the lengthy backlog.

The department also said it wanted to streamline the passport system for these applications to help provide a “faster, more responsive service”.

Elsewhere, Mr Hackett revealed how the department had been severely hit by inflation and fluctuations in foreign currency rates.

The department said the falling value of the euro against the US dollar, a decline of around 15pc, had left them “very exposed” and in a vulnerable position.

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