This Texan backpacker story is beginning…

This Texan backpacker story is beginning to bug me. The lads arrived in Ireland with no proof of funds, no proof of accomodation and no return flight tickets. They expected traveling to Ireland to be like traveling to another State even thought the requirements are very clear to anyone who looks for them (and the thousands of other travelers coming through Ireland who abide by them.) I live and work in Ireland and yet, because of my South African passport, have to prove my residency and job status every time I return to Ireland. Every time I land in Dublin airport I have to split from my Irish fianceé and 11 month old daughter, stand in the “Non-EU National” queue and present various documents to usually polite but vigilant Garda. Every year I have to have these documents renewed, at cost to myself and my employer. The onus is on me to ensure I have these documents and be aware of any new requirements. Traveling to anywhere else in Europe involves trips to embassies, more money, bank statements, accommodation vouchers and flight tickets. The assumption is that I am not welcome to visit Greece or Spain or Italy or Germany or even the UK. It is up to me to prove to the border guards that they want me in their country. I don’t like this world but it is the world we live in and it is very clear. Much the same applies when I visit the USA. If I arrived in the States with a backpack and a grin on my face they’d put me on a plane back to Ireland without even a discussion. I believe this would apply even to full Irish nationals.

So it is nice what Pat Phelan and the lads have done for these Texan backpackers but they should admit their ignorance and get off their high-horses. I’d love to know what they think of letting any Mexican into Texas. §


One thought on “This Texan backpacker story is beginning…”

  1. Hey Paul,

    I’m finding the story a bit annoying as well, but I can find no requirements for tourists that say that you need proof of funds, accommodation, or return flight tickets. I’ve been looking for such information and it really doesn’t seem to be out there. I’ve checked the Irish embassy, the citizens’ information site, and done a few Google searches – it appears that such requirements don’t actually exist, or if they do, the government has chosen to keep them fairly secret!

    I have travelled to about a dozen countries in the last decade or so and I have never once brought or been asked for any such proof.

    I have found information requiring that kind of proof for students planning on staying for a number of months, and for others who are required to register with the gardai, but these people are not tourists. I understand it must be an awful hassle to be in your situation, but it’s far more complicated to be living in a different country than it is simply to be visiting, particularly if you’re visiting on a US passport, as most Americans don’t need visas to visit most European countries as a tourist (and vice versa).

    The US does require an address for tourists, but they also really publicised this change when they made the requirement a few years ago.

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