EU Standardised Driving Licence, mostly, Trumps Political Psychosis

Sinn Féin TD, Dessie Ellis, has taken umbrage with the Irish National Driver Licence Service for refusing to indulge some nationalists’ political psychosis on the recently standardised EU driving licence.  From the Irish News report

Sinn Féin’s Dessie Ellis spoke out after a renewed licence issued to Co Tipperary resident Thomas Murray stated ‘Northern Ireland’ as his place of birth.

The 79-year-old Belfast-born driver, who has lived in Co Tipperary since 1973, previously owned a licence that simply had ‘Ireland’ as his place of birth, but a complaint to the National Driver Licence Service was dismissed as he “confirmed your place of birth as Co Antrim, which is a part of Northern Ireland”.

Mr Thomas said he wanted a licence that “clearly reflects my nationality”, but Ireland’s Road Safety Authority said in a statement that an EU directive which came into force in 2013 required all licences to display the holder’s place of birth.

A spokeswoman said: “The NDLS decided to use Northern Ireland as the description on the licence where a person has a place of birth in Northern Ireland and does not specifically request the usage of The United Kingdom. This information relates to place of birth not nationality or citizenship.”

As the European Commission memo on the Directive notes, one of the objectives behind the standardisation of information on the driving licence is prevention of fraud.

4. How will the new legislation on driving licences reduce possibilities of fraud?

Today, several types of fraud exist. They range from trafficking the document itself, obtaining duplicates unlawfully by suggesting theft or loss of the original licence, to obtaining a driving licence in a different country while being banned from driving in the home country.

The basic philosophy that underlies the fight against driving licence fraud is the principle that one person can only hold one driving licence. This principle has been reinforced by this Directive.

The regular renewal of driving licences will allow Member States to have a regularly updated national database and thus a constantly updated knowledge of the valid driving licences which are in circulation.

At the same time, the communication between the national authorities will be improved by creating a communication network for driving licences between them. The regular consultation of this network, named RESPER, will allow applying the new and stricter rules on the prohibition to issue a licence to someone whose licence has been withdrawn, suspended or restricted. [added emphasis]

Furthermore, Member States are allowed, if they so wish, to insert a microchip in the licence. The repetition of the information printed on the card in the microchip increases the anti-fraud protection and at the same time ensures protection of the data. Of course, European legislation on the protection of personal data will have to be respected.

That should help to explain why the country of origin information is important.  Although, it could be argued that they should just use “United Kingdom” in all such circumstances…  [Hence ‘mostly’? – Ed]

Back to Sinn Féin’s Dessie Ellis, and the Irish News report

Dublin North-West TD Dessie Ellis has previously raised the issue of driving licences changing place of birth from Ireland to Northern Ireland in the Dáil, and said of Mr Murray’s case: “I think this is a ridiculous change which should be looked into immediately.

“If someone wanted Northern Ireland on their licence, fair enough, but if they don’t, there should be no changes that might offend those who hold the document.”

[You have the right to be offended! – Ed]  Indeed.

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  • Karl

    What is it if the person was born in 1920 in Dublin?

  • They probably shouldn’t still be driving…

  • Simian Droog

    Good shout for Leader of the DUP though.

  • Karl

    Im sure theres an ‘ism’ for that kind of talk

  • Karl

    or Antrim 1920.
    Unlikely there’ll be anyone knocking around from 1800.
    Im away to look up my Bunreacht na HEireann and see if the state calls the entire island Ireland. They refer to the name of the country as Ireland so the boy might have a point. Its a snoozefest but if you’ve got nothing else better to do…..

  • Kevin Breslin

    They’d be 95 at least, would such a person be driving at that age?

  • Kevin Breslin

    If the EU affects the bus passes, you may have a point.

  • file

    I read the EU Directive. What it specifies for number 3 on the licence is: ‘3. date and place of birth’ i.e. not COUNTRY of birth. So they could easily write down ‘Antrim’ in this case, or ‘Dublin’ for your 1920 raker driver. This is why they can choose to write Northern Ireland or UK, because if the EU directive had stipulated country of birth, then Northern Ireland (not being a country) would not have been an option. The Mexicans need to be more flexible about what they write at number 3 on the licence.

  • John Collins

    They might. In a recent RTE programme, called ‘Older than the State’, a man of over 100 was featured and was still driving.

  • Karl

    If they had their faculties, why not? Unlikely but it’s not unheard of.

  • Abucs

    The latest human right – Driving While Irish.

  • chrisjones2

    Another benefit of the European Union ……. and soon he will have been born outside the Empire so how will they classify him then? Will he become a non citizen of the Empire?

  • chrisjones2

    This is like one of those Christmas Toys you buy in the knowledge that it will keep the childer marvellously and harmlessly entertained, immersed in a world of fantasy for all of 2 hours before it is abandoned

  • Katyusha

    Same as it does with your passport: only the county is listed as place of birth. And yes, if the state you were born in had to specified, it would be the UK, not Northern Ireland, which has a less of a significant legal status than, say, Bavaria or Hesse.

  • file

    Read the Directive: all that is needed is a place of birth, not a country of birth. Now, for example, on my birth certificate, this is answered as ‘Belfast’ not as ‘United Kingdom’. I’ll have a look at my passport when I get home to see if there is a ‘place of birth’ on it.

  • johnny lately

    Says Antrim is my place of birth on my Irish passport.

  • 05OCT68

    Empire?

  • Katyusha

    I know, I agree with you, File. I’m just giving the example of the Irish passport which only says “Antrim” as place of birth, not Ireland/Northern Ireland/UK.

  • Reader

    file: What it specifies for number 3 on the licence is: ‘3. date and place of birth’ i.e. not COUNTRY of birth.
    I suppose “place” needs to be an EU Region or an EU State – so a county or town wouldn’t do.

  • JAMES MCGIBBON

    Just dug ma licence oot. Have not driven for around 10 years. Really offended as it just says United Kingdom on it. It should say up a close in a single end Glesga East End tenement. That Sinn Fein fundamentalist nutter has my sympathy.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    ‘Mon the Young Cranhill Fleeto!

  • JAMES MCGIBBON

    Cranhill Fleet were the fastest at runnin away fae a fight along wie the Ruchazie Fleet. Barrowfield Tiny Spur Ya Bass!

  • file

    So the driving licence could say the same thing: Antrim. There is no EU rule saying that it must be a country. This is just a rule that the driving authority in the Republic of Ireland are imposing themselves. They could be more creative with it. AND, on my UK Driving Licence which is new and conforms to the EU standard, my place of birth is given as BELFAST. On my wife’s, it is given as Enniskillen. This is because this information is taken from Birth Certificates. So the Mexicans really should think again about this one.

  • chrisjones2

    the EU is morphing into the European Empire

  • Hugh Davison

    When I lived in the Netherlands, my place of birth on all official and legal documents was ‘Belfast’. My Irish passport shows place of birth as ‘Antrim’ (county). This caused a lot of confusion in the Netherlands, where the place of birth is always city, town or local administration area of birth.
    The NDLS is probably misinterpreting the directive by using ‘Northern Ireland’, though I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it..

  • Roger

    Ireland.
    That was the name of the U.K. jurisdiction that Dublin was the capital of at the time. There was no Northern Ireland.

  • Roger

    You might be right.
    You might be wrong.
    Would be interested to learn what “place” means. Antrim is a place.

  • Jollyraj

    But if the chap was born in Belfast, then he was indeed born in the UK (or, in apparent deference to the prickly nature and tendency to existential identity crises common to many of the Irish Republican brethern, Northern Ireland if they don’t want to use UK). Putting the name of another sovereign state on the document (be it Ireland, Belgium or Kazakhstan) would surely invalidate it on the grounds that it would then be a falsified government document. Wouldn’t that leave one open to prosecution?

  • T.E.Lawrence

    The heartland of the “Bridgeton Derry” Them boys in Green still not allowed to walk through the “Cross”. A long time ago, on many a trip to Glesga for the Gers Games we used to go down to the Barrow Market on a Sunday morning (only place you could get a beer at 7.00am in the city) before we headed homewards to the Stranraer boat to “Dear Old Belfast Town”

  • Mike the First

    If you had a UK passport, it would state “Belfast”. Place of birth for UK documents is similarly the town, city, etc; the ROI is I would say fairly unusual in its use of counties.
    Indeed those from NI who do have British and Irish passports probably do have two passports with different places of birth listed (the only exception being those from Derry/Londonderry city…assuming they consistently applied with the ‘L’ or ‘D’ word on both!).
    Might raise eyebrows were the authorities in another country to look at both…

  • JAMES MCGIBBON

    The Derry and the Conks were the main gangs but died out due to the demolition of the tenements and mass dispersal of the punters to the new slums on the periphery.
    I recall during the fifties we had a little Belfast and a Dublin near Brigton X. This was due to the mass immigration during the last quarter of the 19th century. My granda and great granda came ‘over on the boat’
    during this time. The Barras is a bit onerous now and is always being threatened with closure. Stuff falling of the back of lorries apparantly!

  • Roger

    Looking at Irish driving licenses, they say born in “Ireland” for those born in Ireland proper. To be fair, it would be a bit odd to the use county names for those born in UKNI and it is clearly not correct to say “Ireland”. I say this even though I actually have sympathy for those affected.

  • file

    Yes roger, but the new European style driving licence that is being introduced does not ask for a country of birth at question 3, it asks for a place of birth. So it is open to the Driving Authority in the truncated Ireland to start using county names at that question. The name of the country – Ireland – issuing the licence will be on the top left corner with the EU flag as the background.

  • NMS

    Clearly the Bomber Ellis has been standing too close to the fireworks.

  • Roger

    What you’re saying is that the Irish authorities drop “IRELAND” as a place of birth entirely and adopt a county-by-county approach for everyone born in Ireland or Northern Ireland. Just as the Irish authorities do for passports. I agree that they could do that. I’d be ok with it. Googling images of driver licences, I see that Groningen is listed as the place of birth in a Dutch driver’s licence. Groningen is a municipality in the Netherlands. So the approach does seem to have precedent. I think the French take the same approach too. No doubt there are others. Those who kick up a fuss about the Irish approach have my (moral) support. As words of encouragement for those concerned, I’d add in that today’s its driving licences. Good chance that tomorrow it will be their passports too. Good luck.

    All that said, really this is a natural manifestation of the Good Friday Agreement (supposed nationalist triumph). Until 2 December 1999 people born in Northern Ireland could properly say that they were born in Ireland. That was the position as a matter of Irish law, as Northern Ireland was part of the national territory of Ireland. Since that date, all’s changed; changed utterly. A terrible beauty has been born. There is no longer any basis for issuing driver licences to those born in Northern Ireland that say they were born in Ireland. The GFA is a licence for partitionists, for better or for worse.

  • Jollyraj

    This Ellis character is clearly an example of the staggering strength in depth of the Sinn Fein talent pool 😉

  • Obelisk

    Pete I see you are still fond of describing the position of Nationalists who refuse to acknowledge Northern Ireland’s existence as a political psychosis. In light of the DUP’s refusal to participate in the forum on Brexit today, would you agree that the position of some Unionists who like to pretend they don’t live on the island of Ireland is a similar condition?

  • Glenn

    If he doesn’t like the EU’s rules maybe he should start a campaign for the RoI to leave??? Then no one in the south will ever have to have Northern Ireland on their RoI driving license. Irexit anyone, the shinners/provos hate their rules.

  • Hugh Davison

    The use of county as place of birth probably stems from the (traditionally) rural nature of Irish society, possibly coupled with multiple occurrences of the same placename. County was probably a workable solution.

  • Roger

    Can British people born in L/derry ask for their passport to give their place of birth as jus plain Derry?
    I don’t know the answer.

  • Hugh Davison

    What have you got on your driving license (Have you a driving license?)? Why can’t he have Belfast on his license like you?
    What has this to do with shinners/provos whatever that is?

  • Hugh Davison

    What’s on your driving license (part 3)? Have you got one?

  • Hugh Davison

    You mean Pete Baker posts?

  • Hugh Davison

    Do you have a driving license? What’s in 3?

  • Hugh Davison

    Have you been drinking? What have EU regs to do with GFA? Place of birth on official Irish documents have always been based on county. It’s the NDLS for some unknown reason that have adopted this new convention. I’m sure it’s not a conspiracy

  • No.

  • For the benefit of those interested in the actual topic…

    Read the quote in the original post from the European Commission memo on fraud and national databases.

    4. How will the new legislation on driving licences reduce possibilities of fraud?

    Today, several types of fraud exist. They range from trafficking the document itself, obtaining duplicates unlawfully by suggesting theft or loss of the original licence, to obtaining a driving licence in a different country while being banned from driving in the home country.

    The basic philosophy that underlies the fight against driving licence fraud is the principle that one person can only hold one driving licence. This principle has been reinforced by this Directive.

    The regular renewal of driving licences will allow Member States to have a regularly updated national database and thus a constantly updated knowledge of the valid driving licences which are in circulation.

    At the same time, the communication between the national authorities will be improved by creating a communication network for driving licences between them. The regular consultation of this network, named RESPER, will allow applying the new and stricter rules on the prohibition to issue a licence to someone whose licence has been withdrawn, suspended or restricted. [added emphasis]

    That’s why country of origin is relevant for a driving licence.

    A passport is an entirely different document.

  • Jollyraj

    I have got one, but it won’t help us here, I’m afraid – it isn’t a UK license anyway. I was living in Europe (funny how we say that) when I took it.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Many a good time I had in the East End of Glesga, the people and their culture, way of life, and wicked wit always reminded me of a little piece of the Sandy Row People of Belfast ! , thats why the place was always like a “home from home” for us !

  • file

    The country of origin (of the licence, not the driver) is on the top left corner of the licence. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility, for example, that someone with the same name and surname as me, but born in Scotland, could apply for a Republic of Ireland driving licence. We both then might end up with UK at question 3. What would actually differentiate us is our dates of birth. So the detail entered at Question 3 is entirely up to the national driving authority – it is not dictated bu the EU directive or memo.

  • Obelisk

    Are you certain?

    Surely Unionist politicians who ignore geographical reality and pretend that the Republic should be as of much interest to them as Morocco are deluding themselves on a point of ideology? A ‘political psychosis’ born from the same place as your own well-worn trope regarding Nationalists.

  • Glenn

    Firstly as has been mentioned, it is the place of birth eg, country/region, not town or county. Secondly as I have said before on here when I put shinners/provos. After two murders which were connected to Sinn Fein/IRA members/supporters last year. During the investigation and subsequent independent inquiry they found that the so called IRA army council are still influencing Sinn Fein, therefore Sinn Fein/IRA or shinners/provos. This is also after the shinners/provos told us that the IRA were gone, no more an old comrades association. Well we now know that is more Sinn Fein/IRA lies.

  • Roger

    Alas, I haven’t been drinking. Suggest you dig out your old Irish driving license if you have one. If you were born in Ireland, me thinks you’ll find your place of birth isn’t listed there as a county but rather as Ireland. If you don’t have one, maybe you have a friend who does. Let me know what you find.

  • JAMES MCGIBBON

    My da and granda visited relatives in Sandy Row around 1923. My granda had to get a special certificate with photo and signed by the coppers to allow him to travel to Ireland. Still have it. Apparantly the houses around Sandy Row had livestock running around eg: chickens and hens. Incidentally do you know if there was a parish area in Belfast called St Anne’s?

  • Jollyraj

    “It is not beyond the bounds of possibility, for example, that someone with the same name and surname as me, but born in Scotland, could apply for a Republic of Ireland driving licence. We both then might end up with UK at question 3. What would actually differentiate us is our dates of birth”

    Well, that and the photo.

  • Jollyraj

    What’s the difference, country or county? sure if mine said Fermanagh, that’s still Northern Ireland, UK so I don’t see how it would make the Shinners any happier.

  • Roger

    That may be very logical. But I don’t think it’s very perceptive.

    ‘Northern Ireland’ is perceived by Shinners and many, many others including me as a British construct. Wrongly or not, ‘Fermannagh’ is not.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    YES – I know the ward ran between Lisburn Road and the Falls Road with Sandy Row being in the middle of that electoral ward. Scrapped in 1973.

  • JAMES MCGIBBON

    Thanks for that ma great grandfather and geat grandmother were married in the Parish Church of St Annes.
    I have been informed recently that this church may have been on the site of the now Belfast Cathedral!
    I believe they worked in the Belfast Cotton Mills and had to leave to get work in Scotland because the cotton industry collapsed. Their occupations listed on the marriage certificate do indicate they worked in a cloth industry.

  • doopa

    Which passport?

  • Hugh Davison

    Better exchange it for a UK one then (I assume you live in the UK). I think you are required to do so within a year of returning, unless you are no longer driving.

  • Hugh Davison

    OK, I’ll give you that one. Still don’t see the connection with GFA.

  • Roger

    I though the ‘British people’ bit I mentioned gave it away: UK passport is what I mean. Thanks,

  • Roger

    All that said, really this is a natural manifestation of the Good Friday Agreement (supposed nationalist triumph). Until 2 December 1999 people born in Northern Ireland could properly say that they were born in Ireland. That was the position as a matter of Irish law, as Northern Ireland was part of the national territory of Ireland. Since that date, all’s changed; changed utterly. A terrible beauty has been born. There is no longer any basis for issuing driver licences to those born in Northern Ireland that say they were born in Ireland. The GFA is a licence for partitionists, for better or for worse.

    Looking back over the above, while I said “all’s changed; changed utterly”. I didn’t spell out what the change was before drawing the conclusions I drew. I guess I assumed a reader on this site would know. But here goes, that was the day that Irish law was changed to make Ireland a smaller jurisdiction, as a matter of Irish law. The 6 counties comprising Northern Ireland were dropped as part of Ireland’s territory. They haven’t been part of Ireland under Irish law since. From then on, the authorities could hardly issue driving licenses saying people born outside Ireland were born in Ireland. Indeed the converse is true too: Before the GFA the Irish authorities could hardly have properly denied someone born in part of Ireland’s legal territory (as a matter of Irish law) the right to say they were born in Ireland on their Irish driving licence. To do so would amount to a violation of the Irish constitution.
    Strictly speaking these changes happened under the Irish constitution and not the GFA but the GFA was where all of this was agreed to.

  • Hugh Davison

    Ah so! A cunning plot, it seems. The simple solution would be for NDLS to adopt the convention in use for Irish passports i.e. county of birth.
    I have to say though, I didn’t notice ‘Northern Ireland’ on the current licence, nor ‘Ireland’ on the previous one, until this discussion began. ‘Unintended consequences’ eh?
    Actually, now that I think about it, that’s not going to work for people born outside Ireland. How does the UK do it (my old UK licence predates the EU)?

  • “Are you certain?”

    Yes.

    Here’s another example of the political psychosis I’m talking about.

    “While we are a city of culture there has to be a recognition that we’re not part of the UK.”

    Your example is flawed. Unionists refusing to participate in the forum on Brexit are not ignoring geographical reality and pretending that the Republic should be as of much interest to them as Morocco.

    They’re quite happy to talk to the Irish Government about the implications of Brexit. Through the existing, and already agreed, channels.

  • Hugh

    There isn’t a problem requiring a solution here.

    There are a number of people taking offence at the naming of Northern Ireland on their driving licences.

    Because of their political psychosis.

  • Hugh Davison

    What’s on your licence, out of curiosity?

  • Roger

    NDLS have two basic options: use the Northern Ireland/Ireland nomenclature as they do now OR county-by-county. I think those Irish citizens born outside the island of Ireland have their country of birth listed as their place of birth in their passports. Though I’m open to correction on that. Same approach would apply to driving license.

  • Obelisk

    So one side trying to ignore reality is a political psychosis, another side trying to disregard reality is not. Because that’s what a lot of Unionists try to do after all, minimise the fact they live on the island of Ireland and that the share the island with several million Irishmen as much as possible.

    The Brexit forum is only one example of a much wider trend within Unionism, a seemingly overwhelming psychological imperative to not deal with the south as much as possible even in situations such as the forum where their input could have been valuable.

    This is ideology causing Unionists to cut off their nose to spite their face, closing down potential avenues of improving our lot because it would be tacit acknowledgement that the south has an interest up here.

    You’re right though, it’s not a perfect analogy. Those Nationalists who go out of their way to deny the existence of the north are just expressing a personal opinion which has no impact on anyone but themselves.

    The Unionist desire to pretend we don’t live on the same island and to foreclose co-operation wherever possible does have a real and negative impact.

    Now of course we aren’t saying the individuals who hold those opinions are crazy…merely that they hold extreme opinions.

    But if denying the North is a separate entity is a ‘political psychosis’ then I am afraid I have to consider the Unionist desire to minimise the presence of the South as a factor in northern politics as a political delusion. And a harmful one at that,

  • Hugh Davison

    Oddly enough, when you apply for a licence they ask for county of birth if born in RoI, yet the licence shows place of birth as ‘Ireland’.
    Looks more like administrative sloppiness to me.

  • Roger

    I don’t agree. Can you imagine how many nordies would tick Ireland if NDLS didn’t require a county box. Even the deputy leader of the local government in the neighbouring UK jurisdiction can’t bring himself to utter the name of the jurisdiction of which he is the deputy.

  • Hugh Davison

    Meanwhile the rest of Europe is happy with ‘Groningen,’ ‘Malaga’, ‘Birmingham’, ‘Berlin’ or whatever.
    I get it.
    Can we stop with this discussion, please?

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