A Navan school teacher has missed out on a family holiday that has been three years in the planning after the passport office took an astonishing 88 days to deliver new documents to him.
And despite calling the office an incredible 87 times in one day he got nowhere.
Declan Kearns, his wife Laura and children, Aoife, Daire and Liam were scheduled to sail to France on a camping holiday at the end of June.
But despite the fact Declan applied, last April, to renew his passport for the trip it didn’t drop in his letterbox until today Monday, July 18th,
His efforts to get his hands on the new documents in time to travel met with a series of unfortunate setbacks, and at times downright intransigence from staff in the passport office.
A frustrated Declan told Meath Live, ‘When I initially sent off the application I was told it would be issued on June 15th, that was close enough to the time we were due to travel so I kept an eye on it online.
The first I knew of any problem was when I got an email on June 17th to say that the witness identity form signed by the guards had not been entered in the station log book and that I had not sent in my original birth cert which in fact I had.
‘I was told because of those two issues my application had been stopped.
‘On Tuesday of the following week, Laura and I both took a day off work to go up to the passport office with a copy of my birth certificate (€20) and a signed letter from the guards stating it was their fault with the witness identity form.
‘After speaking with an employee of the Department of Foreign Affairs for close to 90 minutes we could get no further despite repeated requests to offer us some assistance.
‘At one point while I was in the office I got a local TD Peadar Toibín on the phone but the staff member refused point blank to discuss my case with him.
‘The end result was no passport was being issued to me and I would have to reapply again, which I did that evening.
‘I had to miss the family holiday, which was disappointing for us all involved but also when put in perspective it’s not the worst thing either.
‘It was unfortunate as we had been planning it for three years but first Covid got in the way and now this.’
Things then took a bizarre twist.
Declan reveals, ‘One Frida I received a package from the passport office which contained my original documents among which was my birth certificate (that they claimed I hadn’t sent in and gave as part of the reason my application was stopped).
The lack of accountability, compassion and assistance from all in the passport office was truly shocking.
‘I was told I needed to send on my parent’s birth certificates so I could apply for a passport
‘I was told that a print-off of a utility bill(required for proof or address)was inadequate and I should have contacted the utility company and asked for a paper bill and of course, they never told me this until after I sent in the print off.
When I reapplied on 22nd June I sent in the same documents as my initial application and they remained untouched for three days.
‘Yet these documents were deemed incorrect on my first application
‘It has been a nightmare.’