Fine Gael Kildare South TD Martin Heydon has urged holiday makers to ensure that their passports are valid well in advance of travelling and to consider the use of the new online renewal system to save time.

“Nobody wants to be caught out in the airport with a passport that has expired, and the last thing you need while planning your holiday is to be worrying about a passport application. Over 18s who are renewing a passport without changing any details, can now apply for their passport online in a new fast convenient and secure process which was launched at the end of March.

“You can apply at 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no need for a paper application form, witnesses or printed photos, and processing takes just 2 weeks plus postage.

“This is always a busy time of the year for passport applications and this year has seen particularly high demand.  Measures have been introduced to deal with this increased demand through additional staff and overtime.

“In addition to the 300 full time permanent staff already allocated to the Passport Service, since January 2017 almost 230 Temporary Clerical Officers have been assigned to the Passport Offices in Balbriggan, Mount Street and Cork. Targeted overtime for the Passport Service has also been sanctioned to increase processing capacity.

“It is very important that applicants choose the most appropriate application channel, depending on their individual circumstances. Passport Express should only be used by those who are travelling in three weeks or more. Anyone renewing a passport who needs to travel in under three weeks should either apply online or by appointment at the Passport Office in either Dublin or Cork.

“My offices in Newbridge and Athy are happy to assist the public with any passport related queries but obviously the earlier we get the details the better for a successful outcome.