Tuesday 17 October 2017

Carrying papers to prove who we are isn't part of who we are

The Government is trying to normalise identity cards by pushing a precursor to them onto the weakest first, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty. Photo: Tom Burke
Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty. Photo: Tom Burke

If there's one good thing that can be said for conspiracy theorists, it's that they're eternal optimists. Only they could go on believing, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that the Government is clever enough or efficient enough to organise large-scale subterfuges against the people.

So whatever else is wrong with the introduction of the new Public Services Card, it's not that the Government is planning to use it to put the population of Ireland under surveillance as a means of mass control of dissent.

Once in place, they might well be used by another government down the line for that purpose, and that's a perfectly valid reason to oppose their introduction. Assurances by the Taoiseach, or Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty, that they're not a form of identity cards is worthless as a future guarantee. Once they're in place, they can be used for any purpose, benign or otherwise. But that's not the main reason for considering it a spectacularly awful idea.

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