Saturday 24 August 2019

Passports connect with emigrants and diaspora

Irish people could find it a lot harder to go to Sydney now
Irish people could find it a lot harder to go to Sydney now


So the Queen did back Brexit after all. The BBC says it, so it must be true.

In a reaffirmation of earlier reports, the BBC claims Queen Elizabeth II said Britain should "just get on with" leaving the European Union at a private lunch before the referendum.

Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC's political editor, says one of her sources told her the Queen suggested that leaving the EU would not be a "problem".

A story during the campaign, which claimed under the headline 'Queen backs Brexit', caused a furore at the time and sparked denials from Buckingham Palace.

Unquestionably, it benefited the Leave campaign.

The referendum result is done and dusted now.

There are whisperings about a re-run of the vote or Westminster not ratifying it - still a far-off eventuality.

In the absence of a dramatic change of heart, the effects are being felt on a daily basis.

And not just here in Ireland.

The Irish community in Britain are evidently concerned about the effect of the departure from the EU on their rights and travel arrangements. Their very sense of identity in their adopted land is at stake.

Fortunately, they do have the ability to carry an Irish passport. And growing numbers of Irish people living in Britain are applying for Irish passports. The latest figures show there was record demand for passports this year.

In other circumstances, it would have been nice to think that the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising would have sparked a reconnection.

In reality, it's Brexit. We shall not complain, as it's heartening to know we can do something for our emigrants and diaspora.

Motoring offence loopholes make a mockery of the law

The odds aren’t bad if you decide to avoid a court appearance for speeding.

Almost half of summonses for speeding motorists to appear in court were not served in the past two years.

Such is the scale of the problem that Garda management has been forced to set up a group to examine the issue.

The contributory factors towards not serving the summonses include inaccurate addresses, changes of address and places where there are multiple people living.

And some people try to avoid having the summons served. Obviously, they are getting away with it.

In some parts of the country, the numbers of summonses served gets even smaller, down as low as 15pc. Cases are being struck out for non-service. Nonetheless, the non-service rate is inexplicably high.

Another anomaly sees motorists convicted of speeding offences avoiding penalty points simply by not producing their licence in court. The offence of not producing the licence in court is not regularly enforced.

A new Road Traffic Bill is supposed to clear up the flaws. Ironically, the solution is to change the wording on the summons. Let’s see how that works.

These loopholes make a mockery of our justice system as motorists can stay within the letter of the law, but not the spirit. It’s surely not beyond the bounds of possibility for the Government to assemble a team of legal advisers to iron out these issues and restore some faith in the system.

Irish Independent

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