Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bomb Scare at the Passport Office

Bomb scare at the Passport Office on Molesworth Street, Dublin 2The passport office dispute has descended into farce. If we’re lucky.

At of a quarter past one today, Garda checkpoints had blocked off either end of Molesworth Street, on Dawson Street and Kildare Street. A security cordon roped off the corner of Molesworth Street and South Frederick Street, where the passport office stands, and a garda stood sentinel outside the door.

Across from the passport office, the crowds who had been queuing for passwords shuffled around and about, while pressmen and cameramen milled about in their midst. Mounted on his Dublin Bike, An Spailpín asked the obvious question: What’s going on?

“It’s a bomb scare,” said a man in a Northern accent. “It’s the Continuity CPSU,” said his mate, leading An Spailpín to wonder if they were joshing. If there were a bomb scare, all the people who are milling around are hardly in a safe place to be if the device were any size at all. To say nothing of it bloody exploding, as bombs are notoriously wont to do.

I moved on, and asked a cameraman. “Bomb scare,” he said, before moving languidly on, exquisitely bored. He clearly didn’t seem to phased by events, and the atmosphere in the crowd was better humoured than it was on the TV news last night, when things seemed to be getting quite techy indeed.

An then your Spailpín started wondering: what if we’re not lucky? What is some lunatic has been singing arias from Doctor Atomic in his weekly bath, and is planning a spectacular? Slightly sick at the thought, An Spailpín cycled hurriedly away to hope for the best.

Let’s hope it’s just a crank. It is massively inconvenient for everyone concerned, of course, but that’s better than people getting killed and maimed. But on the larger scale, isn’t it remarkable, really, how the passport affair has galvanised public opinion?

The Irish public service is astonishingly wasteful, which costs citizens of this state cash money every single day, both in terms of what’s spent on the public service and what doesn’t get done because the Union leaders seem to equate answering the phone with building the Burma railway.

The nation takes all this philosophically, accepting it as being like the rain. Part of what we are. A couple of hundred people can’t go on holidays and all of a sudden it’s panic in the streets time to man the barricades. A strange sense of priorities.

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