Passport fees being reimposed for over-65s

 

MANY OLDER people will no longer be able to afford a passport following today’s reintroduction, after five years, of full passport fees for over-65s, Active Retirement Ireland has warned.

The fee of €80 will “basically result in older people no longer renewing their passports”, the chief executive of the organisation, Maureen Kavanagh, said.

She said many of group’s 23,000 members “feel betrayed” because Fine Gael and the Labour Party had “promised to prioritise the protection of older people’s rights and entitlements. Despite this rhetoric, the new Government is now withdrawing a benefit for older people, which – realistically – will result in minimal cost-savings to the State”.

She said that about 45,000 over-65s were issued with passports last year.

“The Government believes that by reintroducing fees they will raise €3.6 million in revenues from this cohort of the population.

“However, we know from our members that a fee of €80 will simply deter older people from renewing their passports.”

She called for the Government to consider a lesser fee for over-65s or, alternatively, to waive fees for over-70s, as is the case with the renewal of driving licences. “At least a compromise like this would ensure that older people continue to apply for passports and enjoy the benefits that having a passport brings.”

She said when free passports were introduced, “it was in recognition of the contribution senior citizens had made to Irish society. Despite our changed economic circumstances, this hasn’t changed.”

Briefing material provided to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore, revealed earlier this month, showed an Irish passport costs an average of €9 more to produce than the cost to applicants, the Department of Foreign Affairs has said.