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MPs discuss successful Irish Passport service with Post Office

21 July, 2004

Sinn Féin MPs Martin McGuinness (Mid Ulster) and Pat Doherty (West Tyrone) welcomed reports from the Post Office on the success of their Irish Passport service. Speaking after meeting with John Semple at Stormont the Sinn Féin MPs said the increase in the number of post offices which now offer Irish passports from seven to thirty seven shows increasing confidence in expression of identity and a greater access to the service.

Both MPs commended the Post Office on making this service available to a greater number of people across the six counties. "It is now even easier for someone in Derry, Dungannon, or Belfast to go to their Post Office and apply for an Irish Passport. This is a good step and logical forward. However we would also encourage the Post Office to ensure that this service is available in all main towns across the north."

The MPs also took the opportunity explore the future of rural Post Offices and the impact which changes may have on them. They highlighted the difficulties experienced by those living in isolated rural communities when a local office closes and welcomed news that future financial services should help secure the future of smaller offices, which would have a lower level of business.

"It is essential that efforts are made to encourage small local businesses to see the benefits in establishing a Post Office and to help those existing offices to maintain their service. It is hoped that an increased range of services will help bring in new customers to smaller local post offices thereby helping to protect the service for everyone in the community." ENDS

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