Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher has lambasted Simon Coveney for his public comments on Passport applications and the respective role of public representatives in lobbying for constituents passports.
The Foreign Affairs Minister recently said it was not the role of TDs to interfere or assist in getting passports for constituents.
But Deputy Galagher says it is easy for the Minister to criticise others when he himself plainly does not know what he is talking about.
And the West Donegal TD said that he eprsonally helped 1,300 people get passports last year.
“Unfortunately for the Minister he decided to make public comments on an issue which hitherto he was unavailable to comment on or intervene in. I am specifically referring to the occasions when passport applicants had to wait 36 to 45 days for a passport or in emergency circumstances when passports were required within a short period.
Minister Coveney in his recent comments has now seen fit to criticise other party colleagues and public representatives for assisting and representing their respective constituents, it is easy for the Minister to criticise others when he himself plainly does not know what he is talking about.
He added that it is easy for the Cork Minister to criticise others when he is located in a city which already has a passport office – but, what about the other regions and areas of the country that are miles from a Passport Office?
Minister Coveney said we shouldn’t have TDs offices being set up as passport delivery systems saying there are a small number of TDs that encourage that and it is not helpful.
However, Deputy Gallagher said Minister Coveney in his arrogance fails to understand that many areas of the country do not have the same ease of access to passport services as his home city has.
He said “For example many parts of Donegal are approximately 170 miles or more from a passport office, in a similar vein he has also forgotten that his Government have failed to deliver broadband services or broadband access to almost 40% of Donegal homes – so his proposed solution of online applications is as distant and impractical to many rural households as the passport office on Mount Street in Dublin.”
“The Minister also fails to recognise that Passports are a service which the state provides but the citizens duly pay for, and the state and his Department generate an income from the issuing of passports each year,” he added.
“Therefore it should be viewed as a customer and consumer lead service rather than an arrogant operator /provider service such as being espoused by the Minister.
“The same applies for the over 1,300 applicants made through and with assistance from my constituency office – these applications were made by various means, over the counter, online or emergency applications,” added Pat the Cope.
Pat the Cope added time and time again we have witnessed a complete lack of understanding of how daily life is impacting on ordinary people from this Government, on this occasion Minister Simon Coveney demonstrates how out of touch they really are with matters which affect the ordinary citizen.
“Each year many of my Dáil colleagues have to make representations concerning their constituents, each and every one of them is essential and critical to the individual in question.
“I nor for that matter any of the other public representatives will ever apologise for doing our duty for our constituents, last year I assisted in over 1,300 passports – each one of these applications in my eyes were extremely important and the assistance which I provided was essential to the respective individual which came to me directly for assistance with their passport,” stated Pat the Cope.
He complimented the staffs of the Passport Office, who on all occasions have been most helpful and understanding, and on occasions they have to work in extremely pressurised conditions due to the sheer volume of applications.
He said Minister Coveney may well operate a more distant and unresponsive service for his area in relation to assisting citizens with their passports but he sees his duty to represent the people in manner which they request or seek , or for any circumstances that arise and demand on any occasion be that a passport or anything else.
“I am always available to assist and help those who require it, be that a passport or any other matter – that Minister Coveney is the role of a public representative.
“Finally, I wish to add that as Foreign Affairs Minister – Minister Coveney would be much better occupy his time if he would address the crisis facing the border counties, and the Fisheries sector amongst other areas of concern in a post Brexit scenario than advising how to make a passport application,” concluded Pat the Cope.Tags: