Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, has sharply criticised the failure of Minister Simon Coveney to reopen the Foreign Birth Registration Application Service (FBR), to deal with the backlog of over 31,000 applications.
The Wicklow TD said:
“Having raised the matter again with the Minister on the floor of the Dáil this week, I am deeply frustrated that the Minister remains unable to furnish a date for the reopening of the FBR application service.
The crisis period of the Covid-19 pandemic appears to be behind us. Other government departments are returning to their pre-Covid strength levels but the Foreign Birth Registration Application Service will remain closed.
“This is despite the enormous backlog of over 31,000 applications that are waiting to be dealt with. What used to take a period of between 12-18 months pre-Covid, will now take people over two years.
“For several months I have been in contact with the Minister in relation to this issue, attempting to determine if and when plans will be put in place to resume the service.
“It is deeply concerning that the Minister with responsibility for this debacle cannot provide a date for the resumption of the FBR application service.
“Essentially what he said in the Dáil is tantamount to the same excuses that he has been offering all summer. Are we going to have the same reply again in another few weeks?
“This not just a bureaucratic logjam we are talking about here. There are Irish citizens, citizens of this state, trapped in war zones, unable to access the Irish Passports for their children, which they are entitled to, and which they need to travel until the Minister deems it time to reopen the FBR application service.
“The Minister needs to reopen the process immediately. He needs to ensure that that department has the resources to deal with the backlog of over 31,000, and he needs to prioritise those Irish citizens and their children stuck in war zones, he needs to ensure that these Irish children can travel to Ireland safely.”