Kevin Myers: We do not behave like a sovereign republic. We exert almost no control over entry to the State
IT was good of the Israelis not to supply all of their team of assassins in Dubai with Irish passports, though the temptation must have been enormous.
Perhaps it would have looked suspicious if seven Irish people arrived in different flights for the one hotel, with not one of them looking remotely Irish. But then it's a long time since we expected Irish passport-holders actually to be Irish. It wasn't just Jack Charlton who stage-managed mass conversions into Irishness. Fianna Fail governments routinely showered passports on dusky foreigners if they even contemplated setting up a factory here. Merely the thought sufficed. No factory need result, and usually didn't.
The truth is that we do not behave like a sovereign republic. We exert almost no control over movement into the State. Moreover, we treat our passports as if they were monopoly money. A generation ago, CIA operatives entering Iran illegally used Irish passports. Today, it is the Israelis. And why not? Last year, 36,264 Irish passports, or 6.3pc of total issued, were "lost", ha ha ha. We no longer have the punt: instead we have a new international currency which declares that "the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland requests all whom it may concern to allow the bearer, a citizen of Ireland, to pass freely and without hindrance, and to afford the bearer all necessary assistance and protection."