Speaking after the Seanad tonight supported a Sinn Féin motion calling for the opening of an Irish Passport Office in the North, Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile said:
“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.
“This service is needed with huge increases in demand over recent years, with the North’s latest census showing a 63.5% 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?
“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.”