THE Seanad in Dublin has supported a Sinn Féin motion calling for the opening of an Irish passport office in the North.
Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile, Sinn Féin’s leader in the Seanad, has been calling for an Irish passport office in the North since his appointment to the Seanad in 2016.
The Census 2021 results revealed a huge 63 per cent rise in the number of people in the North with Irish passports over the last ten years.
The Seanadóir has spoken about the increase in the number of Irish passport holders in the North and how a new passport office opening in the North of Ireland would have a positive impact in meeting the growing demands.
“I want to thank colleagues across the Seanad for supporting this motion, calling on the government to open a dedicated Irish passport office in the North of Ireland,” said Niall.
“This service is needed with huge increases in demand over recent years, with the North’s latest census showing a 63.5 per cent increase in Irish passport holders.
“Last year, for the first time ever, more people from the North applied for an Irish passport than for a British one. Many colleagues, across all political parties and none, will no doubt have been dealing with issues of delay, backlog and difficulty in obtaining information for applicants, many of whom have missed out on travelling.
“A new office would broaden and improve services across Ireland – how could that be considered something not worth doing?”
The Short Strand man began a petition calling for an Irish passport office to be opened in the North which is supported by over 32,000 people and has now gained the support of the House of the Oireachtas.
“Opening a new office in the North just makes sense. It is needed and will improve access to services for a huge number of applicants.
“Over 32,000 people have signed my online petition calling for this service and tonight the Seanad has endorsed this call – the government can no longer ignore the demand and need for this office and should move to open one as soon as possible.”