Man chained to passport office
Published 25/03/2010 | 07:06
A frustrated customer has chained himself to a door inside the Passport Office until he was guaranteed he would have travel documents to fly to his brother's wedding in Thailand.
Colin Gillick was among hundreds of worried holidaymakers who queued on Dublin's Molesworth Street over fears that his plans to travel on Monday would be ruined by the continuing public sector worker dispute.
Armed with three coats, a flask of tea, sandwiches, radio, books, lamp - and a bicycle chain - Mr Gillick camped in the cold for more than ten hours overnight before being told his application had not even been checked.
"I showed them the wedding invitation for my brother, the flight plans, the whole lot, which I had shown them when I applied and I was pretty much sneered at," he said.
"So I decided to take action, I took the chain out and chained myself to the handle of a door."
Gardai were called to the scene and threatened to arrest the protester for causing a public nuisance until he agreed to return on Friday - escorted by officers - to collect his documents.
Mr Gillick, an unemployed landscape designer, said he had saved hard for a year for the holiday and wasn't prepared to forfeit the money he paid for the trip.
"I don't have a job, I'm not going to get in to the whole argument of public verses private, but they're damn lucky to have a job," he added.
Some disgruntled would-be holidays makers complained that despite unions assuring staff would deal with applications for immediate travel plans, management inside refused to.
But 10-week-old baby Louis Keeley, from north Co Dublin, was one of the lucky ones who left the office with his first passport under his arm. The newborn will travel to Cardiff in the morning with parents Paul and Paula to meet his grandparents, great-grandparents and cousins. "I'm delighted," said Mrs Keeley.