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National Identity Cards in Ireland

In a debate about immigration, a prominent opposition TD has said that Ireland should introduce compulsory national identity cards, and everyone should have to carry them.

Ruairi Quinn, the former leader of the Labour Party said so on Saturday View on RTE radio earlier today. He said that compulsory ID cards were fundamental to having an open and democratic society.

(Saturday View is normally available in streaming format for the week after the show, but this week’s show hasn’t been put up yet.)

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  1. The trend toward introducing national identity cards is unrelenting and would indicate that it’s only a matter of time before they’re brought in.

    Regardless of the pro or anti debate, it might be time to think about exactly what information such cards would contain.


  2. I think what information they should contain is easily answered by looking at their format in those other European countries–NB, this is most of them–that have national ID cards.

    And, well, compulsory ID cards as fundamental to having an open and democratic society?. Bollocks. To take two uncontroversial counterexamples, look at Canada and Australia. Open and democratic societies? Yes. ID cards? No.

  3. What was the context for that quote? It makes 0 sense to anyone reasonable, I think.

    I can think of very few “open and democratic” societies where it’s true — and quite a few “closed and dictatorial” ones where it is.

  4. The context was immigration. The question was how it could be right to demand that immigrants carry identification and produce it on demand, when citizens are not required to do so.

    The stream is up on the RTE site now. What he actually said is below (he said ‘open’ but he didn’t say ‘democratic’, and he said ‘part and parcel’, not ‘fundamental’.)The segment in question is about 42 minutes into the RA recording. It was mentioned by Rodney Rice that MMcD was unwilling to bring in ID cards because of the risk that they might be abused. What Ruairi Quinn said was “I personally believe that we should have an identity card system – most of uscarry identity anyway. It would avoid an awful lot of abuse in our system in terms of social welfare sdams … it’s part and parcel of an open society. Now, within the European Union, of 25 member states, I think it’s logical and proper for all citizens, for all individuals to carry identification papers.

  5. I lived in Belgium for about 20 years and was required to carry an ID card at all times. I did not at any time feel that my rights were being violated or that I was being oppressed. In fact I found the card very useful. There was none of this having to provide a ‘photo ID and a recent utility bill’ that is common here if you want to open a bank account or join a video club. The one thing I couldn’t do with the card was use it for cross border travel because strictly speaking it was a residence permit rather than a National ID Card.
    The only time in 20 years I was asked to produce the card by a police officer was when I was investigating a car parked outside my apartment. The car’s alarm had been going off all night and I went down to see what was going on. However, a passing cop thought I was interfering with the vehicle but once I produced my card that showed I lived locally there was no problem. I often wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t had the card on me at the time.
    I suppose what I’m saying is I don’t have any objection to a cumpolsory ID card provided there’s something in it for me. Advantages would include:
    * proof of ID when opening bank accounts. Apparently a lot of immigrants and visiting students have problems in this area because they are in rented accommodation and cannot provide utility bills. And I know of at least one Irish person who doesn’t drive and has never travelled abroad and is unable to open a bank account.
    * If you’re Irish, facility to travel within the EU without having to acquire a passport

    Of course, my experiences with ID cards in Belgium may be affected by the fact that I am white. Your mileage may vary.

  6. ID Cards are ok i think. But the gardai….i just cant trust them. ID cards are just the start, then a few years down the line it will be an implanted RFID chip so we can walk in anywhere and buy this and open that.

    If that belgian cop
    (Posted by: David Stewart) scanned you from his car he would not have had to get out and ask for your ID card.

    But, sitting at his little in car terminal he could have checked what you like to buy in shops. what magazines & underwear you buy, what websites you read and lookat, who was your last girlfriend etc.

    People will always abuse a system like that, just look at how many tune in to those reality TV shows. Now take that cross section and put it in a police force. Nuff said.

  7. How does a person obtain a National Identity Card.

  8. National identity cards..Why?I think thats the major question in this issue.Personally I agree with the overall concept,making them compulsary will combat the major issue of illegal immigration and terrorist activities.If these ID cards are infused with biometrics it will make it impossible to have multiple identitys or a fake national ID card.All individuals who oppose it will bring up the cost issue but the bottom line is if National Identity cards are not enforced in society,passports will have to be upgraded with higher security measures,which in turn will cost.Anyway the idea is people will have to pay for their cards,i think its estimated 100euro every 10 years but dont people have to pay for their passports?With the way the west is moving it is inevitable National ID cards will eventually have to be implimated in Ireland.

  9. Oh yeah just tell all those misled by what information will be put on the cards..It will only be the basic necessitys,age,date of birth and of course biometrics.All which can only be accessed by officals in charge.

  10. I’ve just read this site. I’ve been living in Germany for nearly 15 years now, and am really annoyed that we don’t have this National ID card. I am constantly asked for proof of identification, not only here in Germany, but also when travelling abroad. Whether it be entering a company, withdrawing money at a bank counter, spot-checks on public transport, checking into hotels (where in some countries they keep your passport as deposit, so you have absolutely no ID as an Irish citizen!!)are just a few of the situations I have come across over the past years. I’m sick to death of carrying my passport around with me as my only proof of ID, and not only do I have the fear of losing it or it being stolen (then I am stranded abroad) but also the fact that because it is the only official ID I have (and that of all other Irish citizens) and that I must carry it everywhere with me, some officials are beginning to wonder whether it is a real passport because it is so shabby looking with being in my pocket all the time, and secondly because it’s hand written!! So come on Ireland, get up with the rest of Europe and most of the world. I am an Irish citizen too, even if I don’t live in Ireland. So I can’t understand the problem. It would definately easen my life.

  11. I am depressed by how easily we could be dragged along after the UK into their potentially highly intrusive scheme.

  12. I think that ID cards would be a great step because we are asked for identification here and abroad and its easy if you have a license to drive but what about those who don’t?

  13. I’m Dutch and livin in Ireland for the last 10 yrs. In holland it’s by law you have to carry a ID card ,or sumtin equal .I think it’s only better for yourself ,at least less hassle if you have to produce any ID ,anywhere

  14. A national ID card is no more than a means by which the state can exercise greater control over the citizen (think of a dog on a short leash) and which makes the citizen answerable to the state in a way which is entirely inconsistent with democratic principles. Remember: branding cattle is only for the benefit of the farmer, not the cattle.

  15. I think I.D cards are a terrible idea, for Ireland or any country! sure, they say its for our ‘protection’, and to fight crimes such as fraud, but the line between protecting your people, and controlling them, is very thin and can very easily become invisible. there wouldnt be a need for such a thing if certain people were doing their jobs. instead of looking for criminals, police monitor cars and civilians in their every day lives. im originally from belfast and there the amount of camera are extremly intimidating, and being taunted for an ID cards would make that ever worse. most of ireland doesnt even need protection, for those who live in small communities, we look out for each other. what happened to those days? there are other alternatives to branding the people. those who give the orders, wont be the ones who suffer.

  16. It seems like there are two extremes on this issue –
    1. A national ID Card is used by the government to keep track of citizens
    2. A national ID Card is used by the citizen to prove identity -if and when required.

    it seems like the best solution would be an ID Card that doesnt collect any data – but this would mean verifying card would be difficult – unless holographic imprints were included maybe ?

  17. 1. the most very important is: you are not allowed by law to leave your identity cards as deposit.
    2. National ID cards are very usefull. i came in ireland just with my national id card. and cause here are no national id cards, they are looking very strange at my id. And more than that… is very usefull, you don`t have to bring bills, or letters.. or stuff. you just show your id and thats all.

  18. National ID Cards A Great idea. Law abiding citizens should have no fear. It would make life easier for most.
    I am certain that it would make government departments (social welfare, health, justice etc.) create efficiencies in how they do business.
    It might even save lives – i.e. quicker action be medical professionals at the scene of an incident or accident – assuming other certain basic information in contained on it e.g. blood group, insurance etc

  19. After all their corruption.Do you trust the politicians?Wake up People
    They answer to money and power not to the citizens.
    CCTV is everywhere now we are
    losing more and more privacy and surrendering to ever increasing state intrusion. Boycott these ID cards A passport is quite enough for foriegn travel.The next step is “Papers” being screeched at you by state officials in the street for no reason Its already happening in the UK,
    Google Brian Gerrish and “Common Purpose” I leave it to your own judgement is he right?

  20. your right wake up people ..politicians are only interested in they’re powerful cronies. we are like lambs being led to the slaughter. does anyone remember that the irish people voted no to lisbon and we were forced to vote again till we got the answer these crooks wanted. “if your a law abiding citizen then you’ve nothing to hide”this attitude really annoy’s me, in other words be a good sheep and dont rock the boat or ask too many questions.well i happen to like the fact that i dont have to carry things, possesions, and identity cards on my person when i go for a walk or wherever i choose(and remember if these id cards come in the next thing you’ll be told is that you choose the wrong answer)wake up people.if you dont then continue walking toward an even bigger erosion of your human rights and go get your RFID chip.and im sure you,ll bee paying for the privilidge of that too.

  21. I can’t believe all the fuss over ID cards and what the state might do with your information etc., like they don’t already have it?, get real and get up-to-date, I’ve lived in Spain where ID cards are compulsory for nationals and a silly A4 was issued to all us non nationals, I’ve had to produce my passport for every credit card purchase chipped and pinned or not, they ask for ID every time even when you must enter a pin. Spanish have both passport and id card, they can travel with either, and as stated here earlier it is a lot cheaper to obtain an ID card than a passport and quicker too, Spaniards can get their id card the same day via the national police, finger printed too, as I have nothing to hide, I for one am all for it.
    Does anyone know when and if they are coming out and can all Irish citizens like myself outside Ireland still get one or must we be resident in Ireland too?