A report in the Irish Times this week on the possibility of Pua applications being put to voters for a second time this year has put to the Irish Government’s Minister of the Interior a renewed commitment to keep people from going back to their original country.
The report, written by former deputy Pádraig Mac Loughlin, suggests that the Minister of Justice and Minister for Public Expenditure could introduce a new law, possibly through the new Pua-related legislation introduced last month, to force citizens to get a new passport if they want to return to Ireland.
“If you go back, then you need a passport,” he told the newspaper.
“That is not something you should do without a passport.
It is not fair.”
The idea is that a Pua return would force citizens who had already moved abroad to apply for a new one, to ensure that they had not lost their Irish citizenship.
A previous proposal to make the process of returning a passport easier was also dropped last year, but that idea has been revived by the new report.
The proposal would allow citizens to apply to renew their passport at the Garda Station in Dublin, which would then be processed by the Secretary of State.
If that fails, the person would be returned to their home country and then sent a new, more secure passport.
“The idea that we would be sending people back is very concerning,” the report says.
“We should not be sending them back unless they want a passport.”
In a statement, a spokesman for Minister of Finance Michael Noonan said the government’s focus on strengthening the Gardai was focused on making sure people were not returning to their countries of origin.
“For people who wish to return, the government has a number of actions that can help to make their case and we will continue to work with our partners on these issues,” he said.
“It is important to note that the Gardaic is an offence against the law and will remain an offence for some time to come.”
He said it would be a “significant step forward” for Ireland if Pua applicants were given a passport, but said it was still too early to say whether the new legislation would be implemented.