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More resources needed to speed up passport applications says Irwin

'This is really impacting on travel plans and ramping up the stress for people who are awaiting news of their application'

Newry and Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has spoken of his concern over delays for first-time passport applications and renewals after a rising number of complaints.

Mr Irwin said it was important more resources were targeted at the service to take the pressure off existing staff and increase turn-around times.

He said: “I have had a rising number of people contact me to report significant delays in their passport queries, such as first time applications and renewals and this is really impacting on travel plans and ramping up the stress for people who are awaiting news of their application.

“I feel in this situation when the Covid-19 restrictions have eased many people are finding that their passports haven’t been needed for a couple of years and now when booking a holiday or business trip they are noticing their documentation is out of date.

“This possibly explains a higher level of renewal activity at one time than would normally be the case, hence the pressures being placed on the system.”

Mr Irwin added: “Whilst I know that passport staff are working very hard I feel there is a case for additional resources to be targeted at the service to help reduce turnaround times.

“That is certainly a recommendation I would make to Her Majesty’s Passport Service and again I thank staff for their work to date and trust that additional resources can be delivered to reduce turnaround times and reassure applicants.”

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