A young dancer from Coleraine is totally distraught as she fears she will miss her chance to perform at the prestigious world championships in Spain because her passport is stuck at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DfA) renewal office.
Halle Ramsey, who represents Northern Ireland as team captain, fears that if she cannot travel on June 23, it will wreck her chances of competing for the world title at Dance World Cup.
With a little more than a week until the flight, Halle’s mother Julie Ramsey, is now desperate to know whether her daughter will be able to compete in Spain, and why no one can give her a straight answer regarding the stage of their passport applications.
“No matter who I speak to, they just don’t seem to care about the situation,” said Julie.
“I applied for our passport renewals on April 6, 2022 with DfA confirming receipt of the documents two days later.
“My estimated issue date was June 3, 2022. However, when I checked the tracking application on June 3 it had gone to the bottom, but on Saturday it had jumped back up.
“The issue date never changed. I rang and eventually spoke to someone on Thursday, June 9 and he said the new issue date was that day.
“I rang back on Friday, June 10 as the status of the tracking hadn’t changed and after 175 calls I finally managed to speak to a male agent who was very rude and not sympathetic at all and whilst I was upset and crying he hung up on me.
“I went onto webchat to be told that I probably won’t have it in time and to have a nice day. I have actually printed the webchat out because I was appalled at the way I was treated.
“I am so stressed right now because I don’t know where to turn and Halle is devastated. If she can’t get to Spain it’s not just her personal disappointment that is the issue, she is in different group dances and duos and she is distraught about letting the other girls down because all the routines will have to be reworked at short notice.
“She is actually breaking her heart and is constantly crying. Halle has been dancing since she was 6-years old and never in a million years did we think she would make it to the world championships. Now, instead of feeling excitement about it we are all so stressed.
“I have offered on multiple occasions to drive to Dublin and collect the passports, that is how desperate I am. I have contacted MLAs and even emailed Michelle O’Neill to see if she can help and even today, after trying to get through 163 times, I spoke to some fella who hung up on me when I asked to speak to a manager or supervisor.
“Our stress levels are through the roof, we can’t eat or sleep because of the worry and I really don’t want to let Halle down.
“This has been the longest 10 weeks of our lives. I appeal to someone, anyone, either MLA or someone with contacts in the Department of Foreign Affairs to help us. Halle has been selected to represent her country with the additional honour of captaining, surely she won’t have that snatched away from her, she would be totally distraught.”