Post-Brexit rise in demand for Irish passports ‘won’t cause delays’
Minister of State Joe McHugh says overall numbers seeking for travel documents up 11% on last year
A post-Brexit rise in demand for Irish passports won’t casue delays for applicants, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Joe McHugh. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.
The fallout from Brexit should not cause delays in issuing passports, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Joe McHugh has said.
“The passport service currently provides a comprehensive range of options for citizens to apply for passports, and I do not anticipate any impact on the processing times for passport renewals as a result of the referendum and increased application levels from Northern Ireland and Great Britain,” he added.
Mr McHugh told the Seanad on Thursday the vast majority of passport applicants on both sides of the Border submitted their applications through the post office network. This was the most efficient and cost-effective way to apply and documents could be submitted at 77 post offices in Northern Ireland, he added.
He said over 90 per cent of passport applications from the island of Ireland to date this year were submitted through the postal service.
Mr McHugh said there were almost 45,000 applications for passports in the system this week.
He said the level of overall demand this year was very high, with an 11 per cent rise in the number of applications compared to the same period last year.
However, the situation was improving, with the number falling steadily from the 68,009 figure on May 31st, he added.
Mr McHugh was replying to Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile who said the number of passport applications from the North had risem quite starkly recently because of the Brexit result.
Mr Ó Donnghaile said community organisations, business leaders and politicians had been calling for a long time for the Department of Foreign Affairs to consider locating a passport office in the North, preferably in Belfast.