Council to seek regional passport office for Donegal

Fine Gael Cllr. Noel McBride brought forward a motion to the September council meeting calling on the council to write to the Department of Foreign Affairs to provide the regional facility. Fianna Fáil Cllr. Patrick McGowan seconded the motion.

Fine Gael Cllr. Noel McBride brought forward a motion to the September council meeting calling on the council to write to the Department of Foreign Affairs to provide the regional facility. Fianna Fáil Cllr. Patrick McGowan seconded the motion.

“It would be a very worthwhile facility for the northwest region,” Cllr. McBride said.

Citing the current backlog in processing passports, Cllr. McGowan said he believed the regional office was “probably more needed now than it ever was.”

Sinn Féin Cllr. Cora Harvey, supporting the motion, said she recently had to make contact with the passport office and because of downed phone lines had to use connections in the Dáil to get through to them.

“It’s something so basic yet so vital for the northwest,” she said. Cllr. Harvey said travelling to Dublin for passport services is particularly difficult from Donegal, a county without rail service and with limited bus service.

Independent Cllr. Ian McGarvey also supported the motion and suggested an amendment to recommend the office be located in the council public services centre in Milford.

“I have no problem with Cllr. McGarvey’s proposal,” Cllr. McBride said, as some councillors in the chamber chuckled.

“I’d be only too delighted to see it in the Milford public services centre.” Cllrs. McGarvey and McBride were members of the former Milford Electoral Area, now part of the Letterkenny Electoral Area.

Donegal Mayor, Labour Cllr. Frank McBrearty Jr., said he was “probably luckier than most” to have the ear of his party colleague, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore.

Michael Heaney, council director of service for community, culture and planning, said the council executive can make the request in a letter to the appropriate authorities.