Interesting comments from Jim O’Keeffe last Friday. Personally I think a full debate would be amply justified, on such issues as the future of the Common Travel Area, and the arrangements for sharing data between Britain and Ireland.
UK must not be allowed to dictate policy on ID cards – O’Keeffe
Fine Gael Justice Spokesman Jim O’Keeffe TD has warned that the UK might end up dictating Ireland’s policy on identity cards because of the Irish Government’s cavalier attitude to the issue. Deputy O’Keeffe said Ireland should make its own independent decision on identity cards after holding a national debate.
“Justice Minister Michael McDowell and his Cabinet colleagues have taken a totally cavalier attitude to the issue of national identity cards. The Government believes that if the UK launches a national identity card scheme, then Ireland will have no choice but to follow suit.
“This would effectively result in the UK Government dictating policy to Ireland on an issue of crucial national importance, and in the absence of any meaningful debate by the Irish Government. Identity cards should be considered independently by the Irish Government in the context of a full debate about whether it is in the national interest.
“Fine Gael has called for a Green Paper on identity cards, but the Government couldn’t seem to care less. Meanwhile, serious questions about ID cards remain to be answered, concerning:
• the potential invasion of privacy;
• the cost implications of a nationwide ID card scheme, with individual cards costing anything from €22 to €440;
• proof that identity cards will be of any benefit in the fight against crime and terrorism.
“Since the Government clearly has no interest in holding a public debate on this crucial issue, I am now writing to the Chair of the Oireachtas Justice Committee to ask that identity cards are debated in full at a series of hearings with experts from both sides of the debate.” (Fine Gael)