Word from the Department of Foreign Affairs has it that there has been a huge spike in the number of British citizens seeking Irish passports in the last little while. That though requires some perspective, A hundred times fuck all is still fuck all, as they say, so you need to know that pre-BREXIT, there was a mere trickle of such applications. So the fact that several hundred are now writing in, is indeed a spike, but only in relative terms.
Back in the day, our then Prime Minister Haughey famously used his elevated position to, ahem, make a few bob on the side, as it were. Well-heeled Arabs, among others, just paid thousands of Punts and the much sought after green passport came back by return post, courtesy of El Supremo. When discovered though, that little avenue of pleasure was closed down and the whole scandal fizzled out with no-one going to jail, (naturally). Perhaps other much larger outrages knocked it off the front page.
Things drifted along serenely then on the passport front until the troublesome Brits said they didn't want to remain in the EU. Johnny Foreigner got his nose out of joint at that snub and dark threats about getting the British back for their audacity were heard in the corridors of European power. Dublin got a bit of a rocket too because of it and our home grown elite had to be damned careful what they said about the UK vote. A hard border with the North reared its ugly head though who reared that spectacle is far from clear.
Anyway, ex-pat Brits make up the largest population of non-Irish living here, many married to an Irish partner. Until now, few of them have been inclined to change the habit of a lifetime and give up their British passport and why should they? But with the prospect of the family summer holidays at some continental sun-spot coming up, the thought has occurred that a British man or woman traveling with their otherwise Irish family, will have to take to the Non-EU queue at the airports. Promises from over yonder suggest that the Non-EU queues will take hours to progress. Mindful of this, many Brits living here are exploring avoiding the Non-EU queues and the Paddy-Pass is certainly one option, hence the alleged spike.
But the Haughey heritage is alive and well and sensing a chance to make a few bob more, the aspiring Brits are being presented with an expensive minefield. Joe Duffy was highlighting this very issue just now and it makes you embarrassed to be Irish. First a well-spoken lady with a rich British accent came on to explain that she married an Irish bloke years before and they settled over here. Three kids later and nearly forty years living in the Emerald Isle, BREXIT came along. So she got the application from the passport office and duly whacked it off. A phone call from them that afternoon enquired why she hadn't included the "Single Status declaration Form," with her application. She apologized and explained that she'd, "Never heard of the guy." The passport crowd explained that it was an official form detailing an individual's pre-married existence, declaring as well their nationality at the time. 'Fair enough," she says, "Whack one out to me." But no! They ceased issuing the form in 2005. "DUH!"
So Catch-22 then? Of course not because this is where the extra few bob come in. "Ya see, You'd have to Irish to expect this kind of thing." The average straightforward Brit expects logical rules, a do-able method and a small fee and 'Bob's your uncle.' We Paddies know there's always a catch and the catches are never based on logic of any kind. They are based squarely on money, your money in this case if you're looking for one of our passports. So you fill out this other form, attach €950 un-refundable you-yo's and whack that off to them for their consideration. If you're a rich Arab, make that a hundred grand and you're home and dry. The poor Brit though must wait until the faceless ones decide if they are a desirable addition to the precious green bloodline. If not, you're down nine hundred and fifty squids and you're looking at possibly queueing up with the Africans and Syrians to get into Europe. It's a fucking disgrace.
It's my hope that the idiot passport office stop this nonsense with our UK neighbors and give them what they need at the standard rate. If they can't do it on time, our airports should have a third queue beside the EU and Non-EU ones for Brits coming and going. It would reflect a reality between the two islands and send a strong message to Brussels that the British/Irish relationship is different. Joe Duffy would do well to take it up tomorrow and tell the clowns responsible to grow up.