Irish passports are being scooped up in rising numbers
By Anthony Neeson
Almost 50,000 people from Northern Ireland applied for an Irish passport over the first five months of this year.
There has been a record level of Irish passports being issued since the Brexit vote, with many people in Northern Ireland and Britain wishing to avail of the benefits of membership of the European Union.
More than Irish 160,000 passports were issued to people in Northern Ireland and Britain in 2017 alone.
Against this backdrop, Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile has called for a dedicated passport office in the North to deal with the upsurge in Irish passport applications from North residents.
“I have today written to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, calling on him to acknowledge the need and work towards the opening of this much needed facility,” said Senator Ó Donnghaile.
“During his recent visit to Belfast I raised this issue directly with An Taoiseach and he indicated an openness to look at the need.
“The clear and continuous rise in passport applications from the North warrants a review of how the government delivers their passport services speedily, efficiently and effectively, all across Ireland’s thirty-two counties.
“The latest detail, which I have obtained through parliamentary questions, shows that 2018 is set to see yet another increase in applications from the North.”
The Belfast-based senator said the rise in applications from the North was not happening in isolation and that there was currently an “unprecedented demand” which is putting a strain on the system.
“The way to resolve these unprecedented challenges is to improve service infrastructure throughout the country, to ease the burden on staff through strategic investment and to meet the demonstrable need that’s out there and to open this much needed and sensible resource in the north of Ireland,” added the senator.
Anyone born on the island of Ireland is considered an Irish citizen by the government in Dublin and is thus entitled to an Irish passport.