Northern Ireland news

Post offices run out of Irish passport forms due to 'high demand'

The sign in the Belfast City branch of the Post Office
Mairead Holland

POST Offices will welcome new deliveries of Irish passport forms from today after "crazy" demand driven by fears over Brexit caused some branches to run out.

Belfast City Post Office, in the city's Bridge Street, was among those which had signs on display informing customers it was out of stock.

A member of staff said other post offices were in the same position.

The Post Office in Strabane, Co Tyrone has no forms, despite ordering them three weeks ago.

Branch manager Christine McNulty said demand was "completely crazy".

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin confirmed application forms had been dispatched and Post Offices should be re-stocked by today or tomorrow 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," he said.

"The number of applications from Northern Ireland increased last year by two per cent, from 82,274 to 84,855."

The department said applicants who were applying to renew their Irish passports did not require application forms and should apply via the online renewal system.

Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile is running a campaign to have an Irish passport office opened in Northern Ireland.

"With the impending uncertainty of Brexit and following a commitment from the Irish government to stand up for the rights of citizens in the north, opening a passport office would improve infrastructure, service delivery, investment and confidence," he said.

"2017 saw over 82,000 passport applications come from the north alone. The call to open an office is supported by a broad range of community organisations, political parties and media outlets, and would go some way in meeting the growing demand for passport applications and renewals from the six counties."

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