Call for Irish Passport Office for north

Sinn Fein Councillor Colly Kelly.

Sinn Fein Councillor Colly Kelly.

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The massive jump in the number of people applying for Irish Passports highlights the need for the setting up of a Passport Office north of the border, it has been claimed.

Derry Sinn Fein Councillor, Colly Kelly, said that the calls for a Passport Office in the north are fully warranted and justified given the demand.

Colr. Kelly was speaking after the Irish Passport Office announced that a record breaking 700,000 Irish Passports have been issued so far this year.

He said: “An office in the North would greater enfranchise people across Ireland and help to ease the burden on staff.

“In June of this year I called on the Irish foreign affairs Minister, Charlie Flanagan, to open a Passport Office in Derry.

“The British Government’s intention to drag the North out of the European Union leaves the island of Ireland facing potentially the most destabilising period since partition.

“Following the EU Referendum result the demand for Irish Passports in the North has only increased.

“The increase in the number of Irish Passport applications also reiterates that the Irish Government has a duty to represent best interests of all Irish citizens in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.”

It is believed the vote by the UK, excluding Scotland and the north, to leave the EU may have prompted more people to fill out applications for Irish Passports so they can move more freely between countries within the European Union.

Applications from England, Wales and Scotland shot up by 42 per cent more than the previous year.

Meanwhile applications lodged by people in the north increased by 27 per cent.