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Where were nitpickers when we needed them?

I RAN as an independent candidate in the recent general election. After the count I rang the office of the returning officer to enquire as to whether I needed to submit my expenses, or other documentation. As I had not been elected and had not even come close to the quota needed to claim back my election expenses, I was told nothing else needed to be done.

Several days later I received two multi-paged documents which did in fact need filling out, detailing all expenses incurred.

These documents needed my signature, which had to be witnessed -- but not just by "any old" witness, it had to be one of the following: a commissioner for oaths, a notary public, a peace commissioner or a practising solicitor.

Fortunately for me a commissioner for oaths lives close by. I posted the forms back happy in the knowledge that I had done my civic duty to the best of my ability. (I include my decision to run as part of that duty.) But that was not the end of it, oh no.

I received the documents back a full two months later. Apparently the witness should have signed on the last page of each of the two documents, not on the second-last page, the page that actually had my signature on it.

I mean to say, the country is going bankrupt, we have politicians who were elected on promises they have no intention of keeping and we have a civil service that seems to have nothing better to do than split hairs over the position of a signature.

How many civil servants up and down the country are employed to nitpick like this on a daily basis?

Where was this kind of adherence to detail when our banks were allowed to bankrupt an entire country?

Dave McInerney
Ballinhassig, Co Cork

Irish Independent