Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowen, T.D. announces that the number of Passports issued in 2003 is at record level
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen, T.D., announced today that the number of Irish passports issued in 2003 by his Department was again at record level.
The Passport Offices in Dublin and Cork will issue almost 465,000 passports in 2003, up by over 15,000 on last year.
The total number of passports issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs, at home and abroad, this year will be over 550,000. This is 20,000 more than last year and more than double the number of passports issued as recently as 1996.
In making this announcement, Minister Cowen said
"I want to thank the staff of the Passport Offices for their hard work in what has been yet another record year for the number of passports issued.
"During the peak demand months of May to July this year the Passport Offices in Dublin and Cork issued over 182,000 passports, almost 3,000 daily.
"I very much welcome the fact that 70% of all passport applicants in the State avail of the A Passport Express@ service, whereby passport applicants can apply for a passport at over 1,000 Post Offices throughout the country and be assured of receiving their new passport within 10 working days. I would continue to encourage passport applicants to use Passport Express which is the most efficient and convenient method of applying for a passport.
"I also welcome the success of the express postal service introduced, in cooperation between my Department, An Post and Post Office Limited, last March in a number of post office branches in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. By the end of this year over 10,000 applications will have been received through this service which provides a guaranteed 10 working day return service to applicants. I hope that the coverage of the service can be further extended during next year.
To enable the Passport Office to continue to provide the highest levels of service, my Department has commissioned a new Automated Passport System which will come into operation in Autumn 2004. A new purpose built passport production facility is close to completion in Balbriggan, Co Dublin. These innovations will lead to further improvements in the service provided by the Passport Office to the public."