Dáil Éireann - Volume 356 - 19 February, 1985

Written Answers. - Joint Passports.

435. Mr. H. Byrne asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he is aware that where a passport is issued to a husband and his wife is included on the passport, Irish-passport regulations provide for the husband or the husband and wife to use the passport but in this instance the wife individually cannot use it and she must apply for a separate passport; if he considers this to be discrimination; if he will create a situation where a passport issued in the husband's and wife's name can be used by either or both parties; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. P. Barry): A passport is issued to one holder. The holder may include his or her spouse on the passport at time of issue free of charge. He or she may also include his or her children on the passport. A passport on which a spouse is included is known as a joint or family passport. It is however the passport of the holder, and cannot be used by an included spouse or children unless they are travelling in the company of the holder.

No discrimination now exists between men and women. I have ensured in the last year that the new passport booklet and application forms make it clear that a spouse (i.e. male or female) may be [44] included on the passport. Previously the passport booklet and the application forms referred to the inclusion of a wife.

The inclusion of a spouse or children on a holder's passport is a useful facility to families. It would not however be in conformity with normal passport practice to issue a passport which could be used separately by an included spouse on an equal footing with the holder. In fact even the inclusion of spouses on passports is now quite rare in European countries.

The inclusion of a spouse or of children on an Irish passport does not interfere with their rights to obtain individual passports should they so decide. Since we made no additional charge for the inclusion of a spouse or children at time of issue, there is no element of double charging should they decide later to take separate passports.