By Sarah Keane • 13 March 2021 • 9:59
Expats Left Stranded As Irish Passport Applications ‘Paused’
EXPATS left stranded as some 57’000 Irish passport applications have been ‘paused’ during lockdown
Thousands of expats are at risk of being stranded abroad as the Irish Passport Office has paused the processing of applications since level 5 restrictions came into place in December. Those who have applied for a passport face the situation of having sent off their old documents and not having received the new one, thus effectively are unable to travel.
Executive Director of The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), Liam Herrick, said it’s impossible to understand why this essential service isn’t up and running, while the Immigrant Council of Ireland said it has received a raft of enquiries from worried expats.
Colin Lenihan, Information and Support Service Coordinator with the ICCL, said “they now find themselves without their passport, with their own identity documents being held in the Passport Office”.
“That is having a knock on effect in terms of employment rights and access to education and housing,” he added.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, any documents which have already been submitted to them will be held securely, but won’t be returned to their owners until some twenty days after Ireland moves down into Level 4 restrictions, leaving many in a precarious situation.
Several countries, including Spain, require people to produce a passport for many day to day activities, as was pointed out to RTE by Julie McNamara, who is working in Greece and whose passport is about to expire.
“My passport is also my national identity document, living in a country like Greece, it’s required for pretty much everything.”
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Former teacher and health services manager with a Degree in English, Sarah moved to Spain from Southern Ireland with her husband, who runs his own car rental business, in 2019. She is now enjoying a completely different pace and quality of life on the Costa Blanca South, with wonderful Spanish and expat friends in Cabo Roig. Sarah began working with Euro Weekly News in 2020 and loves nothing more than bringing all the latest national and international news to her local community.
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