DUP accuse PSNI of showing 'preference' for signing Irish passport forms
A DUP assembly member has accused the PSNI of showing 'a preference' for Irish passports when offering assistance in completing application forms.
North Down MLA Alex Easton was responding to a Facebook post from local police reminding those needing Irish passport forms signed that they can call into its inquiry offices in Bangor and Newtownards.
The PSNI said it was "no surprise that at present there are lots more applications being made for Irish passports" and explained there are different requirements from UK passports.
Although both forms require the signature of a witness who must work in a recognised profession, such as a PSNI officer, Irish applications simply need to be completed by someone who is "satisfied as to your identify".
A UK passport application requires the signature of a witness who has known the applicant "for at least two years" and is "not just someone who knows you professionally".
A number of people took to social media to thank the PSNI for the offer of help, but Mr Easton wrote: "I don’t know why there appears to be a preference for an Irish passport on your FB page than a UK one? You can also sign a UK passport too!"
Last month Mr Easton penned a letter to constituents urging them to get on the electoral register in the event of a referendum on Irish unity.
On assembly headed notepaper, he wrote: "If for instance, there was ever a referendum called on a border poll on a united Ireland, and you are not on the electoral register, you would NOT be able to vote to save our UNION with the rest of the UK."
The North Down MLA later said he regularly encourages people to register to vote, adding: "I don’t envisage a border poll in my political lifetime but it is always best to be prepared."