Let me start with a disclaimer: I am catholic and I do go to church. I am very much what strict catholics call an “a la card” catholic. I choose some elements for me and ignore others. And most importantly I am a strong proponent of tolerant acceptance of all religions and other believes and of complete separation of religious and state matters. But at the same time I am German and that means that rules are needed and these rules should be clear and non-quibbleable (I made that non-existing word up…so much about sticking to strict rules, right? ;-) )

With that in mind, imagine my shock and abhorrence when I read on Friday on the RTE News website (www.rte.ie/news/vote2015/2015/0522/7030), that bibles were provided to Polling Stations in cases “where a presiding officer asks a voter with no identification to swear an oath”!


So, you find a polling card that is not yours and for which you clearly have no identification and you will be allowed to vote just by putting your hand on a book and declaring that you are that person?? I so hope that I got that wrong!?

Because if I didn’t get it wrong, I should leave my passport at home next time I travel and ask for a bible at Dublin airport.

What Banana republic do we live in where a) you are allowed to vote without and identification, b) where a religious book and a few words count more than a formal, state issued document and c) where the Department of Environment explains that as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

To buy a phone and get services from a company, I need an ID and also a proof of address. To vote in a constitution changing referendum, I just need a book and a promise. *shaking head*

What if I am a Trekkie? Will then a Star Trek DVD replace the book? Or as Rastafarian? Just bring the Holy Piby?

It gets better!! It seems there is a bit of a preference for catholicism, because if you are not religious you can just “make an affirmation” says the Department of Environment, you don’t even need a book! I should try that next time I am at a traffic checkpoint: “I can positively affirm that my name is Enda Kenny…and that I will pay that speeding ticket when you send it to me.”

Looks like a Banana Republic to me!!!