My sister Pauline Conboy from Co. Mayo, Ireland, a 47 year old woman with Down's Syndrome had her passport recalled and cancelled by Eamon Gilmore, while acting in a position of trust as Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade for Ireland. This was done in secret "administrative proceedings" over 2 years ago. Neither Mr. Gilmore nor his staff, have ever been able to provide a valid legal reason or indeed any rational reason for their actions against Pauline and me. They continue to refuse and fail to correct their violations of Pauline's rights and my rights. We were both denied due process of law in violation of the Constitution of Ireland as well as numerous other laws. Eamon Gilmore and his successor Charles Flanagan persist with their blatant discrimination against Pauline by depriving her of her right to travel as she had been able to do for years prior to this wholly unwarranted attack. My personal liberty has also been restricted for the past almost 3 years as the penalty for the trumped up offense I discovered I had been secretly convicted of... is up to 10 years in jail in Ireland! Since the Irish government has violated the public trust in such a shocking manner, I cannot possibly have any trust in them that they would not jail me for their trumped up offense. Indeed it is something else when you can be falsely convicted in secret in Ireland for doing nothing more than carrying out the instructions of a member of An Garda Siochana to sign a form!!! I should add that the Garda was correct in his instruction to sign and no offense was committed by either Pauline, me or the Garda concerned... not even unknowingly. I have made endless requests and appeals on Pauline's behalf and my own behalf, as well as filed complaints with the Irish Human Rights/Equality Authority - all to no avail and we are now treated as persona non grata and ignored entirely as if that somehow would resolve the fact that we are innocent victims of entirely unjustifiable persecution.
The excuses by Eamon Gimore's staff for cancelling Pauline's passport and violating her rights in this appalling manner have varied over the past almost 2 years, when this nightmare began. Excuses have included a claim that Pauline was not an Irish citizen even though she was born in Ireland. Pauline has held and traveled extensively with several Irish passports over more than three decades prior to this. The false claim that Pauline wasn't an Irish citizen was eventually withdrawn but her passport was still not returned because they replaced that fabricated claim with various others, including that I was not her "legal guardian" and therefore should not have counter-signed her application even though I was instructed to do so by the witnessing Garda (Peace Officer/Police Officer) and even though there are no provisions in Irish law for legal guardians of adults... so in effect they were falsely claiming that I needed a status that actually does not exist in Ireland!
In any case, an adult with a disability is not required to have a legal guardian in order to exercise his or her rights which are guaranteed to all Irish Citizens by the Constitution of Ireland, as well as of course by International treaties on Human Rights and well... human decency. It is simply wrong and wholly unacceptable to discriminate against any person, but it is especially deplorable to discriminate against a defenseless woman with Down's Syndrome!
In an effort to avoid any more of the confusion Eamon Gilmore's staff seemed to have with regard to legal guardians, Pauline made a new application in her own right on February 5th this year. Pauline identified herself to a witnessing Garda and signed the application herself in his presence. However, much to our great shock and horror, the Passport Office once again blatantly discriminated against Pauline by firstly delaying her application without a valid reason and then denying it on the absurd basis that the "Passport Service" was "minded to form the view" that Pauline didn't have "the mental capacity to understand the passport application process"!
Of course there is no requirement for any Irish citizen to pass a proficiency test on the application process, or to prove to the "Passport Service" that they have the mental capacity to understand it, in order to qualify for their birthright... an Irish passport! Regardless, Joseph Nugent (Director of Passport Services) acted without any legal authority to once again viciously discriminate against Pauline and he deny her application on such an utterly absurd basis.
He stated in his letter to me denying Pauline's application, that he would refund her application fee of 95 Euro, but more than a year later, he still has failed to even give Pauline her money back! There are no words to describe this, other than to say that it is simply outrageous and disgraceful mistreatment of Pauline, as well as a totally unacceptable abuse of power to trample on the rights of an innocent woman with Down's Syndrome like this.
Please help us stop what can only be described as a despicable crime against Pauline and indeed myself too. Thank You!