Delay for baby’s passport ‘emotionally draining’
A FRUSTRATED new mum from Oldcastle who has been told that will have a six month wait for her baby’s passport to be issued says the situation is leaving her emotionally drained.
Lucy McCormack says all she wants to do is go home to Slovakia for the first time in almost two years so her family can meet her eight-month-old son Jake but despite applying for the passport in April, the Oldcastle mum has been told she has a further two-month wait, a six month wait in total.
Lucy who describes being left “stressed and exhausted” spending hours unsuccessfully trying to get through to the passport service on the phone says the debacle is tainting her experience of first-time motherhood. She added:
“So far I’m waiting three months and two weeks since I applied in April and the estimated date for issue is the 6th of October which means I will have been waiting six months for it which is ridiculous.
“I am stressed out and emotionally drained because I am breastfeeding and on the phone every single day trying to get through to the passport service to try and sort it out.
“Sometimes I use my husband’s phone too so I would be on the web chat with one phone and trying to ring them with another. I just want to go home.
“I have a big family in Slovakia so I would love to bring him to meet my grandparents and my sister also had a baby two months ago who I haven’t met so I really want to see them both and also to have some help and get rest too, Jake is my first child.”
Due to confusion with garda records, Lucy was forced to re-apply for the passport, adding more frustration to an already trying situation.
“I applied on 23rd April but had to apply again because when the passport office rang the Garda station, Jake’s passport wasn’t in their logbook so I had to re do it all over again but because I sent all of the documents to the passport office, my passport, my husband’s passport and Jake’s birth certificate I couldn’t apply again.
“I rang the Garda station and they told me that they did have it in their logbook and then they told me to ring the passport office, but I couldn’t get them, I was ringing them for weeks every single day.
“Jake would be with me, and I’d be constantly on the phone, on the web chat on the website but I could not get talking to anyone. One day I was on the phone for hours and hours waiting, and it would say that they were going to be with me in 157 minutes, it was crazy. I was on the phone for hours and hours and I got down to 15 in the queue and then it just disconnected.
“One time I was lucky enough to get through and, in the end, they gave me the passport number and I applied again and checked the status of it, and it is now giving a date for the 6th of October.
“I got mine and my husband’s passports and Jake’s birth certificate back the week before last so they must have it scanned already it is just a case of getting the passport issued so how could it take over two months?”
Lucy fears there could further travel restrictions by October, and she may not get to go home this year at all.
“My family are absolutely dying to see Jake. My grandfather passed away in March, so he didn’t get to see his first great grandchild. My granny is still alive, but anything can happen in life and family is so important and I just want to see them after all this time.
“Even if I do get the passport on October 6th, there I no guarantee there will be flights, there could even be another lockdown.”
Deputy Johnny Guirke has expressed deep concern at the failure of the Government to address the backlog of approximately 112,000 passport applications which are currently outstanding.
“The backlog in processing passport applications is down to the failure of the Government to put in place sufficient supports for the passport service during this the busiest time of the year. There can be no doubt as to the effort that the staff and management in the passport service are putting in to deal with both the backlog accrued over Covid, and the deluge of applications coming forward at this point, which is the peak period for passport applications.
“So far to date in 2021 alone, the Passport Service has received almost 4000,000 passport applications. There are currently approximately 112,000 applications with the Passport Service. Some 50,000 of these applications require additional documentation, while a further 62,000 applications are sitting with the Passport Service. In county Meath there are 2,058 applications waiting to be processed and 685 applications in Westmeath.
“I am calling upon the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, as the individual who bears the ultimate responsibility for his department, to ensure that there are sufficient staff on hand to deal with demand at this time. The responsibility lies with Minister Coveney, and he must act accordingly.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs told the Meath Chronicle:
"We are unable to comment on individual cases. We recommend the applicant contacts the Passport Service directly through our Customer Service Hub by phone or on WebChat. Please find contact details at https://www.dfa.ie/passports/contact/