Belfast Telegraph

Post offices run out of Irish passport application forms ahead of Brexit

By Gareth Cross

A number of post officers in Northern Ireland have run out of Irish passport application forms ahead of Brexit, Sinn Fein Senator Niall O Donnghaile has said.

Senator O Donnghaile said that the shortage shows the need for an Irish passport office to be opened in Northern Ireland.

Some post officers have said that they don't expect to receive more application forms until the end of February.

Official Passport Office figures showed than more than 84,000 people from Northern Ireland made applications in 2018, a 2% increase from the previous year.

Officials predict that up to 300,000 additional passports applications could be made if the UK leaves the EU in a no-deal scenario and 100 extra staff may be need in the Republic to cope with the demand.

Former Lord Mayor of Belfast O Donnghaile said there was a "drought" in passport application forms in a number of locations 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.

“It’s time for the government to properly invest in the needs of Irish citizens in the six counties by opening this much-needed service as soon as possible.”

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