Council asked to seek Irish Passport Office

Councillor Colly Kelly  pictured working on the passport campaign in Derry City centre recently
Councillor Colly Kelly pictured working on the passport campaign in Derry City centre recently

Derry & Strabane Council is to be asked to formerly write to the Irish Government seeking its endorsement for an Irish Passport Office in the city and district.

Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly is to bring a motion before Derry City and Strabane District Council at its full council meeting on Thursday.

Colr. Kelly will request that the council writes to the Irish Government highlighting the increased demand and requesting the opening of a passport office in the local council area.

Colr. Kelly has been involved in running a high profile campaign calling for a passport office in the Derry to cater for the North.

Councillor Kelly said: “I have been lobbying the Irish Government for a number of years now calling for passport office to be located in Derry.

“Just a few weeks ago Seanadóir Ó Donnghaile was in the city centre asking people to sign an online petition for calling on the Taoiseach and Minister for Foreign Affairs for a passport office for Irish citizens in the North of Ireland. Thousands of people have now signed that petition.

“Last year, over 80,000 people living in the Six Counties made an application for an Irish Passport. This is a significant increase from figures released in 2015, the year before Brexit, which seen 53,715 people in the north apply for Irish Passports. This demonstrates a clear need for a passport office to be located here, not only to meet ever increasing demand, but also to enhance service provision.”

Reports suggest that almost half of the applications received in 2017 were from people applying for an Irish Passport for the first-time.

The demand for Irish Passports has increased in Britain and the N. Ireland as a result of the June 2016 Brexit Referendum as Ireland will remain within the European Union.

Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile said: “The message is clear from Derry and I have no doubt this will be replicated across the Six Counties, that we as Irish citizens deserve access to Irish services and now is the time for the Irish government to deliver these fundamental rights,” he concluded.