Calls for a dedicated Passport Office in Derry have been renewed after applications this year topped the half a million mark.
Sinn Féin Councillor Tina Burke reiterated her party’s call for the Irish Government to improve Passport Office services across Ireland.
Data released by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) project that 2019 will be another record-breaking year for applications: it’s only June and over 500,000 people have already applied.
To put this in perspective there were 822,000 passports issued throughout the whole of 2018, the highest number ever, and a five per cent increase on 2017.
Colr. Burke said: “March was yet another record-breaking month for Irish passport applications, with one-in-three applications coming from the North and Britain. In the first three months of this year, 58,000 passport applications came from the Six Counties. Figures released show that the Passport Office has received more than 100,000 applications each month.”
She said the UK’s, and, by default, the North’s imminent departure from the EU, was a factor.
“Since Brexit hundreds of thousands of people in the North have applied for Irish passports with the demand from Britain also up.
“Thousands of people have signed an online petition calling for the location of Passport Office facilities in the North. It’s time the Irish government finally took their heads out of the sand, accept the reality of this growing demand.”