Fury over passport fiasco

Security alert as scores of Irish applications go missing. A cross-border investigation begins amidst concerns of LVF involvement

A major cross border investigation is underway after scores of applications for Irish passports disappeared, the Andersonstown News can reveal.

The applications contain a raft of personal details as well as up-to-date photographs and the fear is that loyalist paramilitaries could be involved as it’s known that Royal Mail is already investigating possible LVF involvement in the theft of credit cards at the Tomb Street sorting office in central Belfast.

It’s believed that the missing forms – numbering up to 50 we understand – were all in one bag and it’s hoped that could make the investigation easier.


Fears that loyalists may be involved

A major cross-border investigation is under way after the disappearance of dozens of local Irish passport applications, the Andersonstown News can reveal.

Official sources in Dublin put the number of missing applications at “between fifteen and twenty”. However, another source claimed the figure “could be in excess of fifty applications”.

The passport applications were all submitted as part of the Irish government’s highly successful ten-day fast-track programme.

The Andersonstown News understands that all the applications – which had been sent by registered post – were contained in the same postbag.

In theory, this means they could be traced throughout their entire route and that only a small number of workers could have access to them.

An Irish government source yesterday confirmed that Royal Mail and An Post have now launched a top-level investigation into the matter.

The incident has already caused massive disruption to local holidaymakers.
And serious security concerns have been raised because the applications contain photographs and intimate personal details, such as names, addresses and dates of birth.

It is known that the Royal Mail’s Internal Investigation Branch is investigating possible LVF involvement in the theft and subsequent use of credit cards that were stolen from the post.

Paddy McKenna, whose son’s passport application is one of those that disappeared, labelled the incident “absolutely scandalous”.

“I only became aware of this on Friday, when, after waiting almost four weeks, I decided to phone up and find out what was happening to my son’s application.

“An official at the Passport Office in Dublin told me that my son’s application was only one of many to disappear recently.

“My son needs his own passport because he is fifteen and is travelling on his own.

“But despite the fact that he is already on my passport from when he travelled as a child, the Passport Office won’t issue a new passport without having a birth certificate.

“Our predicament is that the long birth certificate is in the application that has disappeared.

“Although the first person was very helpful, in subsequent conversations another official basically said ‘tough luck’,” said Paddy.

The angry local dad blasted the response of official agencies as “not good enough”.

“We applied in good time by registered post, and having paid for a special service, that is what we expected to receive.

“However, no-one wants to help us. The Passport Office say they can only launch an investigation about material they have possessed, but since they have never received these applications, they say the loss is nothing to do with them.

“Royal Mail say they are investigating the loss and there is no other way they can help me at present.

“This is ruining my son’s summer,” said Paddy.

An Irish government source yesterday confirmed that the Department of Foreign Affairs is aware of the incident and looking into the matter.

Up until now, the fast-track passport scheme has been a huge success with over 10,000 applications processed last year, and current estimates suggest that over 15,000 applications will be made.

The scheme is currently available at thirty-seven Royal Mail Post Offices throughout the North.

Journalist:: Jarlath Kearney

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?