Minister Dermot Ahern Announces Free Passports for Senior Citizens
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D., announced today that, with effect from Monday 1 August 2005, passport fees will be waived for persons aged 65 years and over.
Speaking at a Press Conference in Government Buildings today, Minister Ahern said the initiative recognised the years of service and hard work of the nation's senior citizens.
Minister Ahern said:
“I am very pleased that the life-long contribution to society of our senior citizens is being further recognised by the introduction of free passports. This will benefit over 60,000 such persons annually – about 10% of those who apply for passports annually.
The current €25 fee is being abolished as and from 1 August. Anyone aged 65 and over from then will not be required to pay the fee for the issue of a 10 year passport.
This move is part of an overall Government strategy to focus benefits of prosperity on our senior citizens. It builds upon the existing free public transport, TV licence, phone and electricity schemes for older people. It comes on top of the largest pension increases in the history of the State, which have outstripped corresponding increases in earnings, inflation and the average industrial wage.
It is important to stress that this move also applies to our senior citizens in Northern Ireland and to those senior citizens who emigrated from Ireland and are today living abroad. It complements the Government's pre-1953 pension scheme and the significant increases we are funding for groups assisting the Irish abroad.”
Notes for editors
It is expected that approximately 650,000 passports will be issued this year. Senior citizens account for approximately 10% of all passport applications. Total Passport revenue will be in the region of €33m this year. An indication of the continuing upward trend in applications is that in the first half of this year the Department of Foreign Affairs has issued almost as many passports as in the whole of 1999.
15 July 2005