One in every ten in Westmeath has sought new passport this year

One in every ten in Westmeath has sought new passport this year

One in every ten people living in Westmeath has applied for a password this year, figures released at Dáil Éireann level have shown.

By mid-June the number of online applications submitted to the passport office came to 9,247, according to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Simon Coveney who released the figures in response to a query raised by Longford/Westmeath TD Joe Flaherty.

The 9,247 is just under 10 percent of the population of Westmeath, which the most recent Census found to be 95,840. Mr Coveney stressed that the figure he gave related solely to online applications and not paper-based.

Deputy Flaherty also asked for information on the number of outstanding applications awaiting processing, and was told that of the 9,247 applications from Westmeath, 888 were still being processed and in the case of 554 more, further action from the applicants is awaited.

Minister Coveney said that the to address staff shortages in the passport office, former HSE tracing staff are being transferred in.

“The Passport Service continues to outperform its previous busiest year, 2019, by over 20%. Over 623,000 passports have been issued to date in 2022. This is 105,000 more passports than were issued at this point of the year in 2019.

"In the past four weeks, the passport service has issued an average of 30,000 passports per week,” the minister said, going on to state that 99% of all child and adult online renewal applications are issued within the standard turnaround time and almost half of all adults who renew their passports online will receive their new passport in the post within two working days.

The minister added that processing time for first time applications now takes 25 working days, down from 40 working days in March. In the space of three months, processing time for first-time applications has been reduced by almost 40%.