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Is mise le meas,
Seanadóir Marcus O’Dalaigh
Senator Mark Daly
Non-urgent applications only accepted via An Post express service from late June
Passport applications will be cheaper and more efficient when changes to the system are implemented, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Soon the passport service will only be accepting applications through the Passport Express service. It will also turn the pilot appointment system, which started in November 2012, into a full service at the passport office in Molesworth Street, Dublin.
By the end of June 2013 passport applications sent through regular and registered post will be returned to the applicant. They will only be permitted to submit their applications through the Passport Express service provided by An Post exclusively for passports.
Demand for new passports ‘unprecedented’, says Minister
Gilmore warns travellers of big delays in issuing new passports
The Department of Foreign Affairs said this will keep passport applications separate from other mail and will provide a faster turnaround of applications for a lower cost.
There is also a new appointment service following on from its piloted success last year. Appointments can be made online for those who need to travel at short notice and appointments can be made for any time from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.
The Department said this will cut down on the time spent waiting in line and that those without urgent travelling needs (within 3 to 10 days) should use the Passport Express service.
Kerry Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly has said there are 174 people with severe disabilities in the Kerry who still face a 20% cut in State support as a result of the government’s indecision on the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant.
According to the Fianna Fáil Senator, the temporary reprieve provided by a short-term extension to mobility allowance payments only adds to the uncertainty, distress and confusion over future supports for those with severe disabilities.
“There was uproar when Fine Gael and Labour axed the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant in February without any warning or consultation with those affected. This decision directly impacts approximately 174 in the Kerry who faced a 20% cut in support as a result,” said Senator Daly.
“The Government had absolutely no replacement scheme in place when it announced this decision. Four months later, it still has no replacement. As a result of the excellent efforts of people with disabilities, their families and carers, the Government has now been forced to extend mobility allowance payments until October. However, Ministers made it clear that the scheme is in fact closed, no new applicants can apply and this extension is merely temporary. In addition to this, they have made no commitment whatsoever in relation to the Motorised Transport Grant.
“The Government’s indecision, procrastinating and refusal to make any long-term commitments is causing extreme distress to people with severe disabilities who have no idea what kind of income they will have beyond October. Many of these people cannot work, cannot leave their homes without help and are dependent on this funding to live. They simply cannot take another 20% cut in their incomes on top of all the other cuts to disability supports introduced by this Government.
“Fine Gael and Labour have been engaged in a sustained attack on people with disabilities and their carers over the past two years. Enough is enough. The Government needs to make a firm commitment that it will not end the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport schemes without have other schemes in place that will provide at least the same level of support and will apply to those over the age of 65,” Senator Daly said.