I finally got talking today to a member of the committee that reviewed the special passport facility for members of the Oireachtas.
I wanted to know if details of the service would be published in the Department’s literature and website.
No, I was told. The service is provided for members of the Oireachtas, it’s not a service that’s directly available to citizens therefore details would not be published.
This, of course, is complete rubbish.
I pointed out that he was a servant of the public, the passport office existed exclusively as a service to the public and politicians are servants of the public and therefore this special service should be fully available to all citizens as of right.
There then followed a discussion about what exactly ‘public’ meant. In the end he finally conceded that all services provided by his department were by definition public.
My next question concerned fees. The standard fee for a passport is €75. If the passport is provided by express there is an extra charge of €8. If an urgent passport is required there is an extra €50 charge on top of the €75 standard charge.
The special facility for members of the Oireachtas allows politicians to bypass the system and personally provide a passport within a few days for ‘special’ citizens at no extra charge.
This Tammany Hall facility is just one of the scams operated by politicians as a means of buying votes. The whole system of Clientism that has evolved over the decades is itself one of the chief sources of corruption in Ireland.