Call for Passport Office in Belfast
BY MÍCHEÁL Mac DONNCHA
Speaking in the Dáil on the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Bill, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin called for an Irish passport office to be established in Belfast and in other regions. He also welcomed the sections of the Bill which recognise the right to Irish citizenship for all born on the island of Ireland and which arise out of the changed Articles 2 and 3. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
``I would urge this government to build on this legislation now by agreeing to open a passport office in Belfast to facilitate citizens in the Six Counties. Surely the Passport Office is a prime candidate for decentralisation, not only to Belfast but to other centres outside Dublin, perhaps an office in each region - the Six Counties, the Border region - and Monaghan is a live option here - the Midlands, Connacht and Munster. I think this is a logical and practical proposal which would greatly facilitate people and I urge the government to act upon it.''
The Cavan/Monaghan TD also urged progress on Sinn Féin's proposal for Dáil representation for citizens in the Six Counties:
``One of the key rights of adult citizens is of course the right to active participation in the political process. Irish citizens in the Six Counties are currently disenfranchised in that they are unable to avail of direct representation here in the Irish legislature. The All-Party Oireachtas Committee has been considering proposals from my party and others that all those elected at parliamentary level in the Six Counties be allowed to participate here in the Dáil and that all citizens North and South have voting rights in referenda and presidential elections. I urge the support of members of all parties in this chamber for that proposal and I urge the administration to act upon it and put it in place before it completes its term of office.''