Pictures of Northern Ireland in new passport prove to be just whispers in the ear…

This is more curio thanhard news. On the 26th September, BBC NI carried this piece of ahem, news regarding the new design of Irish passports:

…it is not yet known if landscapes from Northern Ireland, such as the Giant’s Causeway, will appear.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs would not say if any images from the north will be on the new document. The department commissioned the landscape pictures and images that reflected aspects of culture and heritage.

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore will unveil the new passports on Monday and they will come into official use in October.

Some images under consideration included native trees, cultural monuments such as round towers and images representing the four provinces of Ireland: Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connacht.

It is understood there was some discussion within the Department of Foreign Affairs about including images from Northern Ireland, since citizens from the north can opt for an Irish passport.

The department would not make any comment ahead of the official launch.

Okay, so it launched today. And guess what? Nothing, nada, zip. Just a quote from United Irishman James Orr, “one of the weaver poets from County Antrim, who wrote in Ulster Scots”.

Ah, it’s them ould kite flying ‘sources’. They get us all burnt from time to time… 😉

  • David Crookes

    Another urban legend, then, Mick, like subtexts in Captain Pugwash, the taste map of the tongue, bathtub vortices, and seeing the Great Wall of China with the naked eye from the moon.

    I wonder how many people got quare an’ mad about it…..

  • sherdy

    Was Don Quixote Fealty caught out looking for windmills to tilt at?

  • Mick Fealty

    Ha ha Sherdy, I’m getting just as old and crumbly…

  • FDM

    I don’t want to add to the paranoia but if you view those passport images through a prism there is a hologram of Gerry Adams sitting smiling like the Mona Lisa.

  • ayeYerMa

    Any picture of a Northern Ireland landscape would have amounted to a territorial claim.

  • Asked why there were no images of landmarks in Northern Ireland, Mr Gilmore – who is also Dublin’s Foreign Affairs Minister – said drawings and symbols through the passport were “all-island images”.

    “In relation to Northern Ireland, we have on page three a map of the full island, the extract of article two of the Constitution, which makes it clear that entitlement to an Irish passport is for anybody who was born on the island of Ireland,” he said. The Indy

  • Paramo

    Though, as is plainly evident here, there are images of the whole island of Ireland: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/redesigned-irish-passport-unveiled-by-t%C3%A1naiste-1.1544839

    This, of course, is the standard depiction of ‘Ireland’ on the websites and documentation of southern companies and government agencies. The north is never cut out, in the manner that Portugal, for example, would be excised from Spanish government images of their territory.

    What is to be made of such a persistent semiotic occurrence…

  • MrPMartin

    No poetry from Seamus Heaney I see. What a strange omission

  • FDM

    It is disgraceful that they haven’t put a line on that map where the border is.

    Then again I have went to the border and I can’t find any line either? Couldn’t they just have built a wall like in Israel to make these things easier to help us all out?

    I do recall one of the tv companies having the six counties surrounded by water [a moat] in their imagery.

    Oh fantasies, fantasies.

  • Mick Fealty

    The point is/was, there was/is no substance to the story. At the time the BBC rand with the story there was no possibility of it happening, just the mysterious fantasy of someone somewhere who hoped the press might run with it.

    Someone, no doubt, busily involved in the urgent business of ‘living in a parallel future’ (http://goo.gl/7bTNk9)…

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Simple, MrPMartin:

    W.B.Yeats — “Anglo-Irish” Classic poet of European Stature who represents the great Irish Cultural Revival

    James Orr: a “Planter” poet from the dissenter tradition of the Weaver poets (and Freemasons) of Antrim and Down.

    Nuala ní Dhomhnaill: “Gael” A brilliant choice of a contemporary poet who writes powerfully in Irish as well as English. She evokes memories of the great South Ulster and Munster poets of the eighteenth century and is a fitting modern representitive of one of the great poetic language traditions of Europe.

    All three traditions woven together to symbolise the polycultural essence of our richly blended Irish identity.

    Now while Heaney is an important modern poet he simply represents “Heaney”, writing only in English, and unable to evoke either Irish language or dissenter tradition and despite his high profile, still far from being comparable with the stature of Yeats who must be ranked with the greatest poets of all time.

  • Morpheus

    AskYerMa: “Any picture of a Northern Ireland landscape would have amounted to a territorial claim.”

    Yeah, passport images – that’s how Hitler and Genghis Khan did it.

  • David Crookes

    Seaan was too delicate to point out that the letters of W B YEATS, JAMES ORR, and NUALA NI DHOMHNAILL anagrammatically encode an imaginary conversation between the passport artist and a well-known local politician.

    Ha, Jim, Ireland owns Ulster!

    Bah. Anomaly!

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    When I started working abroad a lot I opted to get an Irish passport to compliment my British one (believe, in many unstable oil producing countries it’s much preferable) the shameless political spineless chameleon that I am.

    On the part of the form that asked for my place of birth I put in the county of my birth, Co Londonderry.

    The passport came back with ‘Derry’ instead.

    I figured it would and decided I’d only complain about it if I was really really bored but does this mean that officially speaking that Irish government doesn’t recognise the official name of my home county?

    Could they not cut me a little bit of slack?

    I imagine there’s not that many Unionists from my neck of the woods that apply for Irish passports so surely it’ll not kill them to add six extra letters?

    I’ve heard the equality word bandied around regarding the extension of the Irish vote to all passport holders, is there any room left on that band wagon for me to demand equality and recognition of the official name of my county that was previously known as county Coleraine?

    Yes I’m bored…

  • Harry Flashman

    “I figured it would and decided I’d only complain about it if I was really really bored but does this mean that officially speaking that Irish government doesn’t recognise the official name of my home county?”

    The Irish government does not recognise the official British designation of the city at the southern end of Lough Foyle, “Londonderry”, in precisely the same way the UK government does not recognise the official Irish designation (in the first language of the state) of the same city, “Doire”.

    Both will compromise on “Derry” though, which is nice.

    As to Irish passports being somehow more “acceptable” than UK passports, like the urban myths listed in the opening post it’s bollocks. I travel frequently on both passports and have never had the slightest problem or benefit with either, both receive a cursory glance before being stamped by some bored official.

    However on the broader point about passport imagery believe it or not we are not unique in our sensitivities. China’s nine-dash line on a map on their passport has caused outrage in many countries of SE Asia given the symbolic claim on territory it seemed to suggest.

  • Paramo

    Londonderry has been allowed on Irish passports since 2009: http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=81835

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Harry

    It’s not Bollocks, off the top of my head I can enter visa free in Uganda.
    On my British passport I have to pay.

    I appreciate that you’ve probably traveled more than me but there’s definitely countries where I’d rather be an Irish citizen than British citizen, turns out some countries have beef with Britain.

    Paramo

    Cheers!!!

  • Republic of Connaught

    Am Ghomsmacht:

    “I appreciate that you’ve probably traveled more than me but there’s definitely countries where I’d rather be an Irish citizen than British citizen, turns out some countries have beef with Britain.”

    When I rented an apartment in Paris some years ago, the landlord started conversing in English when he giving me the key. He was from Marseilles and the conversation soon turned to English football hooligans rampaging in Marseilles in the 1998 World Cup.

    I’m Irish, I told him. Not English. It has nothing to do with me. The glare in his eyes didn’t convince me he cared much about the distinction. The English have left a footprint in many countries, and it’s as often a bad footprint as a good one.

  • “Any picture of a Northern Ireland landscape would have amounted to a territorial claim.”

    “This, of course, is the standard depiction of ‘Ireland’ on the websites and documentation of southern companies and government agencies. The north is never cut out, in the manner that Portugal, for example, would be excised from Spanish government images of their territory.

    What is to be made of such a persistent semiotic occurrence…”

    @AyM,

    The combination of map and Art. 2 is a clear assertion of the right of Ireland to OFFER citizenship to anyone who wants it on the island.

    @Paramo,

    Israeli maps in both English and Hebrew often contain not only Israel and the West Bank and Gaza but also the western part of Jordan and the southern parts of Lebanon and Syria. This isn’t to be taken as a claim on all these territories but merely setting the country in its geographical context. Although, unfortunately the borders between Israel and the Palestinian territories, are unfortunately not marked.

    The difference between the Spanish and Irish cases is that Spain doesn’t offer automatic citizenship to the Portuguese. And as long as both are members of the EU the border remains largely irrelevant to both nations.

  • Desmond Trellace

    Seeing as it is one of the most favourite pasttimes on the Emerald Isle, does anyone actually know where the term “tit for tat” comes from?

    (Put another way: who ever bothered with “tat”?)

  • David Crookes

    Originally TIP FOR TAP, as far as I know, Desmond: one kind of blow reciprocating another kind of blow.

  • Harry Flashman

    Am Ghobsmacht

    I had no idea that Uganda provided such special treatment to the Irish, why is that do you think? I will bear it in mind when or if I ever get around to visiting there, thank you.

    However if travelling in SE Asia you might find it much easier to get a visa on arrival with a UK passport than an Irish one, so take care. Oh and many countries won’t let you teach English if you have an Irish passport (they take the Irish at their word when they say say that the first language of Ireland is not English you see).

    My main point is a corrective to the usual oul’ blarney you get from Irish passport holders who will tell you how they received crap service from Johnny Foreigner who suspected they were British but who, upon Irish traveller whipping out his Irish passport (as we know everyone walks around with their passports in their pockets), suddenly changes his entire demeanour, hugs Irishman, buys him a round of drinks and invites him home to sleep with his sister.

    Alas, it doesn’t work like that, I’ve tried it.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Harry Flashman:

    “My main point is a corrective to the usual oul’ blarney you get from Irish passport holders who will tell you how they received crap service from Johnny Foreigner who suspected they were British but who, upon Irish traveller whipping out his Irish passport (as we know everyone walks around with their passports in their pockets), suddenly changes his entire demeanour”

    It’s a well known fact a famous BBC man like John Simpson used an Irish passport in troubled parts of the world rather than a British one. A man of that worldly experience obviously saw the benefit in having an Irish passport over a British one in certain parts of the world.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Harry

    I wholeheartedly recommend a trip to Uganda.

    Relatively safe (or very safe compared to some of the neighbours), great safari, savannah land in the North, jungle in the south, adventure sports along the source of the Nile, gorrilla ‘spotting’ if that’s your thing and Kampala is a pretty decent party town.

    If you have a soft spot for boats then a trip to Port Bell may be in order too to see the rusting hulks. From the beach. With a beer/cocktail in hand.

  • Delphin

    The truth of which passport is best lies some where in between. UK consular support,should you need it, is better, simply because the UK has more resources than Ireland. In certain countries at certain times(eg when John Simpson needs to be there), an Irish passport is better.
    I carry a UK passport and explain, if necessary, that I am forced to do do this by the British imperialist whipping dog lackeys.
    I think it is better to be polite and respectful of other peoples cultures, rather than worry about what passport to carry.
    AG, Uganda sounds interesting. When is the best time to go and how prevalent is malaria.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    For those of us old enough to remember, the Irish passport has been steadily declining in popularity at border posts over the past twenty years. There was a very obvious slump in popularity when the bail outs occurred and the world’s image of the average Irishman changed from Samuel Beckett to David Drumm of Anglo-Irish.

  • Harry Flashman

    I have been to mainly Muslim countries, countries in Latin America with shall we say past form with the British, Spain, France etc, African and Asian nations on both British and Irish passports and have experienced no difference in treatment by the natives, indeed most places I go in the world the people are extremely hospitable and welcoming and intrigued to know more about my country of origin whether it happens to be Irlandia or Inggerland.

    (Ken Bigley, Brian Keenan and Margaret Hassan all gave the lie to Simpson’s theory. Let’s face it Simpson’s a bit of a typical Beeb, smug, self-hating Brit type always keen to ingratiate himself with the Irish and other nationalities.)

    What’s the talent like in Uganda AG?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Delphin

    European summer time is best (avoid high winter if you’re going up north where the national park is, hits high 40’s if I recall correctly, or at least it felt like it…)

    Malaria: Awful. Don’t do what I did and toddle into the Boots in Donegall Place the day before departure and ask what malaria pills they have only for them to pull out a massive book, peruse through and then reply “NONE for where you’re going, ours aren’t strong enough…”

    That was the last time I left that one to the last minute

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Harry

    Well, each to their own as they say, I spent most of my time (when in town) gawping at the ex-pats and charity workers.

    I even spoke to one once…

  • derrydave

    Harry / Am Ghobsmacht,

    If travelling in Argentina, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, I think I’d prefer to take my chance with my Irish passport !

    On the flipside, in SE Asia life would be considerably easier if I had a British passport. With a British passport I would be able to get a 12 month business visa to China, whilst having my Irish passport instead means having to go to get a double-entry visa re-issued every two months. Despite the cost and hassle I’ve not yielded to the temptation of selling my soul to the brits yet 😉

    The key factor for the difference in treatment in South-East Asia appears not to be how much people like / dislike the Irish / the British – more a case that many people over this part of the world have simply never heard of Ireland, but do have at least a vague idea of what / where Britain is ! Surprisingly however I have come acrorss quite a few that have never heard of Britain either – at the end of the day I suppose we’re both just two small inconsequential islands somewhere in Europe to these people (talking particularly of the Chinese) 🙂

  • Delphin

    Thanks for that AG, I will bear that in mind. And thanks Harry too – never go all reasonable on us, Slugger just wouldn’t be the same.

  • Harry Flashman

    “And thanks Harry too – never go all reasonable on us, Slugger just wouldn’t be the same.”

    I do my best.

    Yes Dave, you are quite right, when I first arrived in SE Asia, the only connection anybody could make with Ireland was of all things West Life, which wasn’t the worst aspect of Ireland they could have come up with I suppose. Britain was at least marginally better known but trying to define the differences between us would defy most Asians.

    Argentinians secretly love the Brits, they just won’t admit it, Harrods and polo are too much ingrained in them. They are described as Italians who are as arrogant as the French, speak Spanish and wish they were English.

  • Harry Flashman

    “Well, each to their own as they say, I spent most of my time (when in town) gawping at the ex-pats and charity workers.”

    I cross the street to avoid those types usually AG.