Brexit triggers rush for Irish passports in Northern Ireland
Irish passport application forms in Northern Ireland have almost disappeared ahead of Brexit according to local post offices.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that Sinn Fein Senator Niall O Donnghaile said there was a "drought" in passport application forms across Northern Ireland.
“This increase is no doubt impacted upon by the ever-deepening Brexit crisis. More and more people are claiming their right to Irish and EU citizenship," he said.
“This reinforces the need for the Irish government to invest – opening a Passport Office in the six counties is the practical thing to do in order to meet growing demand and decrease the burden placed on staff.”
This is not a surprise.— Niall Ó Donnghaile ⭕️ (@NiallSF) January 29, 2019
Many of us have been flagging this stuff 4 several years now. Clearly identifiable & growing demand should be met with investment. People pay for new/renewal passports - it’s time we had a service to meet our needs. #6CoPassports @sinnfeinireland @dfatirl https://t.co/xLa3RDKlbI
Last year, O Donnghaile created an online petition seeking the creation of an Irish passport office in Northern Ireland as well.
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs said: "All Post Offices should be re-stocked by tomorrow or Thursday at the latest.”
"There has been a general increase in passport applications in recent years which is due to a number of factors, including a growing population and an increase in travel abroad."
Irene Edgar, branch manager at Belfast’s central Post Office which ran out of Irish passport forms on January 25, told BBC: "High demand, especially in the last few weeks, means there is a stock and delivery issue."
Kirsty Longridge, branch manager of the Bangor Post Office in Co Down, said demand has been “massive.”
"It is Brexit, people don't know what is happening and they want to be prepared.”
Christine McNulty, branch manager of the Strabane Post Office in Co Tyrone, said that despite ordering forms three weeks ago, her branch is out of applications as well and that demand has been “completely crazy.”
"People are afraid, that's why they want their Irish passports, fear around Brexit," McNulty said.
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