Redesigned passport focuses on ‘citizenship, not territoriality’

Passport features map of Ireland without Border

Karen Griffin, a member of the Passport Office, with a sample version of the new travel document. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

The redesigned Irish passport launched yesterday features a Borderless map of Ireland to reflect the all-island basis for citizenship along with imagery which Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore described as representing “our culture, our history and our people.”

Landmarks such as Croagh Patrick, the Rock of Cashel, Kylemore Abbey and Croke Park feature as watermarks in the new-look passport, alongside drawings depicting Irish music, dance and Gaelic games.

Ogham characters
The travel document includes the musical score for the national anthem and characters from the Ogham alphabet. It also contains excerpts from the work of three of Ireland's poets: Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, who writes in Irish; William Butler Yeats, who wrote in English; and James Orr, from Co Antrim, who wrote in Ulster Scots.

The redesigned Irish passport includes the musical score for the national anthem, characters from the Ogham alphabet and excerpts from the work of poets Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, WB Yeats and James Orr. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

“We have combined the latest security technology with selected imagery in order to produce a passport which represents Ireland – our culture, our history, and our people,” Mr Gilmore said as he launched the new document.


“The images used range from a stunning perspective of the Cliffs of Moher to the new landscape along the river Liffey, with the Dublin Convention Centre to the foreground and the Custom House and Liberty Hall peering through the harp strings of the Samuel Beckett Bridge . . . The passport features poems from three of this island’s finest poets.”

The Tánaiste described the symbols threaded throughout the document as “all-island images.” He noted that the map on the revamped passport is a topographical map, not a political one. The text of article 2 of the Constitution, which outlines the all-Ireland basis for citizenship, appears alternately in Irish and English through the new document.

“The emphasis in the images in the new passport booklet is on citizenship not territoriality,” said a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs.

'Highly secure'
The head of the Passport Office, Joe Nugent, said the photographs and drawings commissioned solely for use on the passport had been reproduced with specialist printing techniques to ensure the document was "highly secure".

In recent years forged Irish passports were used by members of a Russian spy ring discovered in the US and suspects in the Israeli assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai.

All Irish passports issued from this Thursday will have the new design.

“Today, Irish passport-holders travel more often and to more destinations than at any time in the past. In 2012 we issued over 600,000 passports to Irish citizens around the world,” Mr Gilmore said.