Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has insisted that a third national Passport Office should be located in Derry in order to meet a rising demand in applications after the ‘Drumlin counties’ were suggested as a halfway house by a Donegal-born senator.
Colr. Kelly has led a high profile campaign along with Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile for an office to be located in the North .
He has rejected a suggestion put forward by the Monaghan-based, Senator Robbie Gallagher, who is originally from Termon and a member of Fianna Fáil, that a new office should be located in south Ulster instead.
Speaking in the Seanad, Senator Gallagher said: “We have two passport offices in this country - one in Dublin and one in Cork. Unfortunately, as with many services, if one draws a line from Dublin to Galway, they are non-existent north of that line.
“The Passport Office is yet another example of that. At a time when we are experiencing a rise in the number of applications from Northern Ireland due to Brexit, it is timely that we would look again at locating a sub-office to cater for the northern half of the country.
“A location such as Monaghan or Cavan would be ideal from a geographic perspective because if one lives in north Derry or north Donegal and has to travel to Dublin, it is a four and a half hour journey.”
Colr. Kelly, however, suggested any new office should be located in the North.
“It’s good news that the issue of Irish Passports are being kept high on the agenda. At this time of year there is a lot of pressure on elected representatives dealing with passport issues. For me it’s a no-brainer to a have an office in the north with it being located preferably here in Derry City.”