72. Lieut.-Commander Clark Hutchison
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware of the delay that takes place at the travel permit office, Bothwell Street, Glasgow, in the issue of permits to people who wish to travel to Ireland; and what steps he is taking to clear up the confused condition of this office.
The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. McNeil)
The heavy demand for passports for overseas travel, as well as for travel identity cards for journeys to Ireland, has resulted in serious congestion at the branch passport office at Glasgow. Extra staff has however been engaged and additional accommodation has now been secured. A separate office has been opened to deal exclusively with travel identity cards for Ireland, and it is hoped that this measure will prove effective in relieving congestion.
Does the Under-Secretary realise that people are having to wait for four or five weeks to obtain permits for Ireland? Will he take steps to speed up this matter?
I realise that there is considerable congestion, since I was there myself last Saturday morning.
§ Sir Ronald Ross
Does the Under-Secretary realise that the trouble is by no means confined to the Glasgow office, and that there are unconscionable delays at all other offices in providing identity documents, which is a matter of complaint to intending travellers and to the tourist trade?
I can hardly agree that there has been an unconscionable delay. I agree that there has been congestion, but we hope to tackle it as fast as we can obtain the staff and premises.
§ Major Legge-Bourke
Is the Under-Secretary aware that only two weeks ago I received a letter from his Department, stating that the minimum delay for passports was two weeks? How does that tie up with his reply?
Perhaps the hon. and gallant Member will read the Question, which refers to travel identity documents.