Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Micheál Martin, T.D. Announces expansion of Consular Services at Cork Passport Office, 23 June 2008
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Micheál Martin, today
announced an expansion in the range of consular services being
provided in Cork.
Speaking during a visit to the Cork Passport Office, the Minister said that following a one year pilot project, he was delighted to formally inaugurate the new range of services and highlighted the fact that people living in Cork and the Munster area will no longer have to travel to Dublin to avail of these services.
The new services include:
Certificates for Marriage Abroad
Legalisation of documents
Foreign Births Registration
Welcoming the outstanding success of the pilot scheme, the Minister said "the results show clearly the level of demand and I had no hesitation in making the decision to permanently locate these services in Cork." He pointed out that during the 12 month pilot phase, the Cork Office has processed over 10,000 authentications, 100 Foreign Birth Registrations and 660 Civil Letters of Freedom to Marry.
Minister Martin also declared that, after 21 years of service, the Cork Passport Office had come of age. The Minister said-
"When it opened in 1987, the Cork Passport Office had only three staff and a very limited service. I am delighted to say that today the Office has a team of 100 people and processed over 130,000 passports last year alone. As a result of a range of innovations over recent years, including the introduction of Machine Readable and Biometric Passports, the people of Munster can be sure that when they travel abroad they are using one of the most advanced passports in the world".
Warmly praising the staff for their efficient and courteous manner, the Minister said "gone are the days of the long queues of the mid 90s. Irish citizens are now guaranteed their passports within 10 working days of an application through swift post".
Note for Editors
Since the Cork Passport Office was opened in 1987 by the then Minster for Foreign Affairs, Peter Barry, it has developed from a shop front operation employing 3 people to a full Passport issuing Office employing approx 100 people. Last year, the Office dealt with 130,000 applications, up from 50,000 in 1997. The Passport Office also provides "an out of hours" emergency service. In 2007, the Cork Duty Officer issued 217 passports in emergency case.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has made available three Consular services- authentications, foreign births registration and letters of freedom to marry- under a pilot project in the Cork Office since March 2007. In view of the success of the initiative, it has now been decided to make these services permanently available in Cork for the Province of Munster.
Consular Services authenticates official seals and signatures on public documents executed in Ireland for use abroad and attaches Apostilles under the 1961 Hague Convention. Authenticating a document means verifying the signature of the person and/or the seal or stamp that it bears. Countries that are parties to the relevant 1961 Hague Convention may request the bearer of a document issued by a public authority (e.g. birth, death or marriage certificates and documents issued by a Notary Public) to obtain an Apostille, which involves the addition of a certificate by this Department to a document certifying that Ireland is the country of origin of the document, the identity and capacity in which it has been signed and the name of the authority which has affixed a seal or stamp.
Processing applications for Irish citizenship by Foreign Births Registration.
A person who was born abroad to a parent who although also not born in Ireland, was an Irish citizen at the time of that person's birth, may become an Irish citizen by applying for entry in the Foreign Births Register.
Issuing civil letters of freedom
Some countries require non-nationals, before they can get married in their jurisdiction, to produce a document from their country of origin indicating that they are free to marry. Issuing civil letters of freedom (often referred to as Certificates de Coutume and Nulla Ostas) to Irish citizens who intend to marry abroad is among the services provided by the consular office in Cork.
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