The Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has allocated €15 million to develop a new system that will help process passports.
The new system is expected to replace the existing one and enable state authorities to better maintain the passport issuance process, TheSchengen.com reports.
According to the Irish Examiner, the contract worth more than €14.7 million was awarded to HID Global Ireland Teoranta three years after the request for tender was issued. The tender documents indicated that the system would be the main internal processing system in the back office and registration system for all passports and other registration applications.
In addition, the same revealed Ireland’s desire to create a new system due to the backlog of a large number of applications due to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing delays in processing time for all documents.
Ireland collected increasing numbers of applications this year as the country was going through a lockdown at the start of the year, which means passports are taking longer to be processed.
Although the system is primarily focused on internal systems that will provide a more flexible passport system, it was expected that it would not be fully operational for several more years.
Regarding the epidemiological situation, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has placed Ireland on the dark red list since the country identified more than 500 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants in the past two weeks.
>> The EU Health Agency continues to advise against travel to most EU countries
This means that all people, especially those who have not been vaccinated or recovered from the virus, should refrain from traveling to Ireland because the risk of infection is very high.
Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that over the past seven days only Ireland has recorded 30,528 cases of coronavirus. During the same period, the country recorded 43 deaths.
As per vaccination rates, ECDC figures show that 76.2 per cent of the adult population in Ireland has been fully immunized against the virus. On the other hand, 77.5 percent received only one dose of the vaccine.
Previously, Irish authorities announced that all Irish COVID passport holders who have been vaccinated outside the European Union can now apply for an EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate.
However, it was made clear that only those vaccinated with a vaccine approved for use by Irish health authorities are eligible to apply for the document. Vaccines recognized for travel to Ireland include AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen, Sinopharm, Sinovac and Covishield.
>> Travel to Ireland amid COVID-19: Current entry rules and restrictions