Friday, September 12, 2008

Defrauding the Passport System is Easy

After losing my passport a few months, I finally got around to getting the documentation together to make my new application.

So, off I head into the local Garda station, form, birth cert and photos in my sweaty little hands. After sitting next to a bare-footed hobo, half doused in pant, I was finally summoned to the desk. The conversation goes a little something like this . .

Me - "I'd like to get my passport and photos signed please"
Garda - "Ok, have you got your form, passport and photos?"
Me - (passes documents) "Yes, here they are"
Garda - "Ok, have you got a photo ID?"
Me - (frantically searching) "Umm, all I have on me is an old college ID"
Garda - "I'm sorry, I'll need to see a valid picture ID. Have you got your old passport, national age card or driving licence?"
Me - "I don't have an age card, I don't drive and as it says on the form, I've lost my old passport"
Garda - (passing a form) "You can apply for the national age card then"
Me - "Right, what do I need to apply for that?"
Garda - "Birth certificate, passport photograph and picture ID"
Me - "Oh, like a college ID?"
Garda - "Yes"
Me - "So what you're say is, my college ID isn't good enough to get a passport but it is good enough to get a national age card which in turn can get me a passport?"
Garda (a little confused) - "I'm sorry, but we're really clamping down at the moment"

I was then explaining this to a colleague at work. He thought it was pretty strange that I even needed to produce a form of ID, he offers to drive me to another Garda station where he got his application done without the need for photo id. We go, I walk in . . .

Me - "I'd like to get my passport and photos signed please"
Garda - (sitting at a computer on what looked like Bebo) "Wait a minute"
Garda - (a few minutes later, comes over, signs everything and without a word sits back down)
Me - (leaving, amazed) "Umm, cheers Garda"

I honestly thought that the days of the gombeen Garda were finished; evidently, they're not. I'm also amazed that in a world where identity fraud is so prevalent, that there doesn't seem to be any standards or defined process in obtaining a passport. Even with the first Garda, there was absolutely nothing to stop me from producing any sort of mickey mouse id to obtain a national age card fraudulantly. Is it any wonder the public has lost respect for the Gardai when they're so careless and negligent?

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