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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Mixed response from MEA councillors to request for Irish passport office in NI

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council received a mixed response from Mid and East Antrim councillors further to correspondence seeking support for a request for an Irish passport office in Northern Ireland.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is writing to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney to ask that the Irish Government give “urgent consideration” to the matter.

Ballymena SDLP Councillor Eugene Reid said:

“I spend a huge amount of time signing Irish passport forms on a regular basis. I think it is something we should look into.

“!f there is something that could be done with regards to this, I think that we should be making correspondence with Mr Coveney and trying to put forward a case for an Irish passport office here in Northern Ireland.”

Bannside Sinn Fein Cllr Ian Friary said:

“I think it is a good idea that the council should write off.”

Carrickfergus Castle DUP Alderman Billy Ashe MBE commented:

“This somewhat perplexes me. They have closed the passport office in Dublin. They have closed the passport office in Cork. I do not know why they would open one here in Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom.

“If you want an Irish passport and far from me to give advice to the SDLP and Sinn Fein, but if you want an Irish passport, you go down to the Post Office.”

Coast Road Sinn Fein Cllr James McKeown replied:

“You get the forms in the Post Office. You do not get the passport in the Post Office.

“I support the call for an Irish passport office here in the north. Given that in the last year or so they have issued well over a million passports, I would not say they are all from a Nationalist point of view. I’m sure a few have come from elsewhere.”

This year, for the first time, the Irish Passport Service issued one million passports in a single calendar year.

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