Devastated mum had to leave daughter behind on holiday after passport mix-up

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A devastated mum was forced to leave her little girl behind when setting off for a family holiday due to a horrible passport mix-up.

Samantha O'Connor was frustrated by the lack of communication from the passport office after realising her daughter, Ellen, 10, may miss out on the holiday to Greece.

Days before they were set to fly, Samantha realised her daughter's passport was out of date.

Feeling overwhelmed with the paperwork for the trip, she began to panic.

They got in touch with local TDs in an attempt to speed up the renewal of the passport, and she hoped it would be sorted in the nick of time, writes DublinLive.

She said: "We were making sure we had everything sorted when we realised that the child's passport had expired.

"It was a renewal – it's not like she hasn't had a passport. She's had two passports previously.

"I couldn't put my holiday forward because I'd have to give five working days to do that."

After repeatedly badgering the passport office and local TDs, she claims she was left in the dark.

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Finally, she had no option but to leave without her daughter Ellen who had to stay at home with her aunt.

Ellen and her dad joined the rest of the family and booked a second flight after the passport arrived.

However, Samantha says the family's holiday was ruined by stress.

She says she spent the first week, with her other daughter, checking emails and sitting by the phone, and being on standby in case anyone got in touch.

The mum also added they couldn't ditch the trip altogether as they had forked out almost £3,500.

Samantha said: "We went all-inclusive. It's our first holiday in two years and it never happened for her.

"She was devastated at the beginning. I was devastated. I was inconsolable even going out on the flight because of the thoughts of leaving her behind."

A spokesperson from the Department of Foreign Affairs said: " The turnaround time for applications such as child renewals and first-time applicants begins only when we receive all required supporting documentation.

"When an application has been correctly completed and all documentation has been received the Passport Service is making every effort to issue passports as quickly as possible."

Dublin Bay South Sinn Fein TD Chris Andrews highlighted a backlog with lockdown, saying: "The reality is that, during normal times there is a core staff of approximately 450 in the passport section which is increased during the peal period by a total of approximately 200 to a total of 650.

"But at present staff numbers are significantly reduced with only about 500 personnel in total being left to deal with demands."

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