Fianna Fail TD for Sligo-Leitrim Marc Mac Sharry has reiterated his call for the establishment of a passport processing facility at Tubbercurry, County Sligo.
Mac Sharry first called for the location of a passport office to service the region as far back as 2011 together with his Sligo County Council colleague, outgoing Cllr. Jerry Lundy.
Deputy Mac Sharry said “I have today learned that Fine Gael are set to establish either a second passport processing facility in Cork or a third in Dublin. This is to deal with the ever-increasing applications due to natural growth factors and because of Brexit.
“Following the very successful decentralisation of the Department of Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to Tubbercurry, by Fianna Fail in Government, the south Sligo town has a proven track record in terms of the availability of the necessary talent pool and modern office accommodation. Incredibly, in a cynical political move Enda Kenny as Taoiseach closed the office and moved the staff to Ballina in his own county of Mayo in 2012.
“In the interests of balanced regional development, the availability of the appropriate talent pool locally both within the civil service and private sector, its proximity to the border and above all value for money in terms of rental costs for quality modern office accommodation which are very substantially below similar accommodation in either Dublin or Cork it makes sense to establish a passport processing facility in Tubbercurry, County Sligo.
“A Sligo office could process the Connaught/Ulster applications and also deal with Northern Ireland Passport Express while also assisting with applications from the UK and missions abroad. I have submitted formal questions to Minister Coveney to seek the establishment of the Tubbercurry Passport Office.
“The Office Accommodation is there, the talent pool is available, our passport system requires the extra capacity and our region requires a service. The Governments own policy of Ireland 2040 is consistent with such a move the only question is, are Varadkar’s Government prepared to walk the walk and back this sensible suggestion to locate a passport processing facility at Tubbercurry instead of costly additional facilities at Cork or Dublin,” concluded Deputy Mac Sharry.