All new passports will contain an embedded computer chip containing biographical information of the holder.

They are known as ePassports or biometric passports, which it is claimed are almost impossible to forge. The new technology was introduced in time to ensure that Irish citizens could continue to travel to the United States without a Visa. Existing passports remain valid until their expiration date. When the chip is scanned all the biographical details belonging to the passport holder appear on screen. The chip is also capable of holding fingerprint and iris information.

Paddy Byrne is one of the first Irish people to receive an ePassport. At the age of 57 it is his first ever passport.  

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern TD speaks to RTÉ News about the new technological development and the implications it has for airport and customs security in terms of passport fraud. 

The photograph now can not be tampered with. It's digitised within the biometric chip.

The new passports also come with specific photo requirements.

No smiling, mouth closed, no hair covering the face, and no unnatural skin tones.

An RTÉ News report by Anne Marie Smyth broadcast on 16 October 2006.