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Cork councillor to propose rebel passport

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Laura McGonigle
A Fine Gael Councillor is tonight expected to propose the introduction of a passport especially for Cork before a sitting of Cork City Council.

The surprise idea, being commandeered by Fine Gael Councillor Laura McGonigle is a sort of Rebel City take on the recently introduced Irish heritage certificates, a sort of Government-endorsed money racket whereby patriotic members of the Irish diaspora can (for just €15) get their very own 'Certificate of Irish Heritage' for all that that's worth (precious little).

The Heritage Certificate website (heritagecertificate.ie) is a remarkable example of just how low a government will stoop in the middle of an economic crisis in order to fleece starry eyed emigreés of their hard earned cash.

The site bears perfect resemblance to more legitimate governmental web portals such as the official passports website.

Users are taken to an applications sub-domain where they can follow the bizarre process through to its ridiculous end.

From naming their 'ancestor', choosing whether to have the cert framed or not, to having the useless piece of paper dispatched to their address a few thousand miles from the Emerald Isle, users can configure their heritage cert. as they see fit.

When finished it even comes replete with a signature from the Minister for Foreign Affairs to add another stamp of governmental veneer to the whole process.

It now seems as if the ever enterprising McGonigle, a local Fine Gael Councillor, is hoping Cork can jump on the bandwagon by importing the idea to the Rebel City in order to pump some money back into cash-bereft local authorities.

Fortunately, it seems as if the smart people of Cork will not be such an easy sell as their overseas brethren.

Reaction, both on the internet and anecdotally through friends, has been scathingly negative on the nutty proposal.

In fairness, McGonigle couldn't have really chosen a more transparent headline when she flatly intoned on her blog, announcing the idea, "Cork passport to be introduced. New source of revenue."

McGonigle's sale pitch is a sort of desperate appeal to Corkonians' widely-known attachment to the Banks of the Lee:

"Corkonians’ unique attachment and devotion to their county is known country and world wide," the Councillor states.

"The Certificate of Irish Heritage is a great initiative, and creates great value and a bond with our people wherever they live, but why not take this further with a Cork Heritage cert or “Cork passport”."

Although born in Dublin, I've called Cork home for longer than I can remember, and although I may love my Barry's Tea and Beamish, I'm certainly not forking out money on a useless piece of paper to prove my Cork 'heritage'.

This comment, from an article on TheJournal.ie, is just about typical of the sort of reaction the 'idea' has had so far: "And cork people wonder why they’re not liked in other parts of the country.Their misguided sense of superiority can be topped off with their own passport, maybe they could have their own currency while they’re at it".

Not that I agree that Cork people are not liked in other parts of the country, but an idea like this does beggar belief about what sort of world our local elected representatives in City Hall are living in.

What value would owing such a document have? Should 'certificates of heritage' be made available for all the 26 counties of the Republic? How about border control, or currencies as the commenter form TheJournal suggested! If all such measures were to be implemented, it would be a sort of modern reversion to the days of feudalism.

The idea of course is laughable, but even more laughable that it's seriously being proposed before the local assembly.

Local authorities are definitely in need of extra cash (the man sized potholes still found dotted along  the city's roads bear testament to that fact), but trying to swindle cash strapped residents into buying a 'Cork heritage' passport is pushing McGonigle's credibility to a strech to say the least.

The motion “That Cork City Council would introduce a ‘Certificate of Corkness’ or a ‘Cork Passport’, issued similarly to the ‘Certificate of Irish Heritage’ scheme introduced by Central Government earlier this year.," is due to be voted on before Cork City Council this evening. I'll let you know the result.

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