Wednesday 13 December 2017

Belfast post office runs out of Irish passport application forms

Bridge Street post office in Belfast runs out of Irish passport application forms.
Bridge Street post office in Belfast runs out of Irish passport application forms.

Claire Williamson

A Belfast post office has run out of Irish passport application forms following the UK's decision to leave the European Union.

Earlier this month the Republic of Ireland's government revealed it had to hire 200 temporary workers to cope with a surge in demand for Irish passports.

Irish passport holders will remain EU citizens making it easier for them to travel throughout the continent.

On Saturday a Belfast post office on Bridge Street put a sign up to say it had run out of forms.

On Friday Google reported a surge in online searches for information on Irish passports following the UK's vote to leave the European Union.

In the referendum, however, Northern Ireland voters opted to Remain, along with the people of Scotland.

The DUP was the only major party in Northern Ireland that backed the Leave campaign.

In the wake of the result David Cameron has resigned as Prime Minister, the Labour party is seeking to oust leader Jeremy Corbyn and financial markets have slumped.

Sinn Fein has also called for a border poll, given Northern Ireland's support to remain in the EU. Although First Minister Arlene Foster has rejected this as "opportunistic".

And, in the wake of the result, there has been a surge in people looking to apply for Irish passports.

Google Trends data shows there was a +100% spike in the past 24 hours for people searching for information regarding Irish passport applications - mostly by those in Northern Ireland.

Professor Pete Shirlow from Queen's University Belfast said having an Irish passport will ensure you are still part of the EU.

He told the BBC's Stephen Nolan show: "It's very simple. if you have an Irish passport you will still be part of the European Union and you will be able to move, live in the European union.

"If you are born in the island of Ireland, or your grandparents are, you are entitled to an Irish passport."

He added: "There is no question of dual citizenship."

Travel expert Simon Calder said an Irish passport will become an "increasingly valuable asset".

He said: "Anybody who is lucky enough to have an Irish parent, Irish grandparent is entitled to an Irish passport which confers all the benefits we have heard about.

"They will be bidding to get an EU passport as it will become an increasingly valuable asset.

"It will mean being able to freely move and work. A generation of people at school/college at the moment, up until today everyone had the opportunity to work anywhere they want to without any formality."

Belfast Telegraph

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