Government must open passport facility in the North - Ó Donnghaile
Commenting on figures released by the Department of Foreign Affairs to thejournal.ie today that there are currently 65,916 passport applications awaiting processing, Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile has reiterated his call for the Government to invest to meet the rising demand for Irish passports.
Speaking on this issue and calling on the new Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney to act, Seanadóir Ó Donnghaile said;
“Today’s figures are startling but not entirely surprising when we consider the detrimental impact Brexit is having on Ireland and Irish people who wish to reaffirm and retain their Irish and EU citizenship.
“The figures released to thejournal.ie show yet again, the upward trend in passport applications, which I and others have been flagging to Government since the vote on Brexit took place last June.
“There is no question that Passport Office staff have been working diligently, under unprecedented demand and pressures since the Brexit vote and our sincerest thanks goes to them.
“What the Government can no longer deny however is the ever increasing demand being placed on staff within the Passport Office as a result of this huge increase in applications. The Government must urgently review their resourcing of this office in order to support staff and meet the identifiable need that will continue to rise.
“Given the fact that over ten thousand of the current applications awaiting processing are coming from the North, it makes absolute sense for the Minister to look at my long-standing appeal to his predecessor, that his Department open a dedicated Passport Office facility in the North that can meet the demand there as well as act as a further support for the applications coming from the rest of Ireland and Britain.
“I will be seeking a meeting with Minister Coveney to discuss this matter as soon as possible, as well raising it with wider Government on the floor of the Seanad once again.”