Derry Journal
17 March 2012

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has said she is disappointed at the refusal of the Irish government to establish a passport office in the North.

Ms Anderson had previously called for such an office to be set up in the North to deal with the large numbers of application for Irish passports.

“Sinn Féin recently wrote to the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore requesting that the Irish Government give serious consideration to setting up a passport office in the North

“Every year an average of 37,000 people from the North apply for Irish Passports through the Express Application process alone so I was extremely disappointed that the answer received was that there is no intention to set up a office in the North in the near future,” she said.

The junior minister also said the Irish government have a duty under the Good Friday Agreement to facilitate passport applications from the North.

“Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement there is an entitlement for people living in the North who wish to declare Irish citizenship to do so and more and more people are expressing that entitlement by taking out Irish Passports.

“A passport office in the North would not only alleviate the pressures on the main Dublin Passport Office but would allow people to travel locally to apply and collect their passports,” she explained.

Ms Anderson also called on the Dublin government to reconsider the move.

“Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for an office to be situated in the North in order to facilitate the demand for Irish passports by northern citizens,” she said.