The Department of Foreign Affairs pleaded for an extra €5 million in funding for the Passport Service saying it was the only way they could provide at least the same levels of service last year.
In a pre-budget submission, the department said they were expecting to issue another 1 million passports this year, not far off last year’s record level of 1.085 million.
They also said they expected to deal with a higher level of sometimes complex foreign birth registration applications with figures rising significantly over recent years.
The submission said: “[We have] over 21,000 applications received so far this year, an increase of almost 22% on the same period last year.”
They said the Passport Service was grappling with “ageing systems” and “increased postage costs” which meant a significant boost in funding would be required just to maintain services at the existing level.
The department also said they were looking for €15 million as part of a plan for a new ‘Ireland House’ that will be based in New York.
It will bring together diplomatic personnel along with overseas staff from agencies like the IDA and Enterprise Ireland under one roof.
The pre-budget submission said: “This development needs to be completed by end 2024, as the lease on the current property expires at that time.”
The department also looked for a €2.5 million funding boost to help open up three new missions next year.
These will be based in Munich in Germany, Milan in Italy, and in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, and are part of the ‘Global Ireland’ programme to extend the country’s diplomatic reach.
In their ask for overseas development funding, the department said they were seeking an extra €130 million because of the “unprecedented scale” of the challenges being faced by the world.
These included the climate crisis, “the biggest land war in Europe since World War II” in Ukraine, and an increasing number of humanitarian disasters. The submission predated the conflict in Gaza and Israel.
It said: “At the same time, the rules-based international system – a system that Ireland depends on for our continued prosperity and safety – is under profound pressure.
“The requested increase would be used to meet increasing demands for climate finance, to support Ukraine and the interconnected global food crisis, as well as to meet growing humanitarian demands.”