passport row | 

Longitude festival bar defends confiscating IDs from revellers suspected to be underage

Confiscated passports at festival which were sent back to Passport Office may now be destroyed, as per security measures
Longitude

Longitude

Paul HylandIndependent.ie

The operators of the bar at Dublin’s Longitude Festival have defended its staff for confiscating IDs from underage people who attempted to purchase alcohol at the event earlier this month.

It comes as people have complained that some IDs still have not been returned to their proper owners.

The three-day music festival took place at Marlay Park from July 1-3, with thousands of music lovers attending each day.

The festival’s organisers said IDs were confiscated in some instances because they did not belong to the individuals who were using them to purchase alcohol.

According the Longitude website, under 16s needed to be accompanied by an adult, over 18 years, to attend the event and “valid ID” was required upon entry.

“Under 18s’ are not permitted to bring or to purchase alcohol on site. A Challenge 21 Policy will be in place for all alcohol sales on site. It is illegal for a person over 18 to purchase alcohol on behalf of someone under 18,” the website states.

A caller to RTÉ’s Liveline programme named Siobhan said her underage daughter used her older sister’s passport at the event, as she attempted to buy “three ciders”.

Siobhan said Lola (17) showed her 18-year-old sister Michelle’s passport to the bar staff and it was seized and later “destroyed”.

“Friday afternoon she went to the bar and she asked for three drinks, three ciders, she showed her passport, it was her sister’s passport, and they said no, we don’t believe you. That’s not your passport,” Siobhan said.

“So, the lady at the bar said I’m taking that passport off you… So, she didn’t get any drink and she got her sister’s passport taken off her.”

Siobhan said when Lola enquired about how she could get the ID back, she was told that “loads” of IDs had been confiscated throughout the day and the Gardaí would “send them back” by post. She said a member of the Gardaí who was working at the event confirmed that it would be returned by post in due course.

By July 14 the passport had not arrived and Siobhan said her daughter Michelle was worried because she needs it for a foreign holiday in early August.

After contacting Longitude and Gardaí at several stations in the south Dublin area, Siobhan was informed by email, on Wednesday of this week, that the passport had been sent back to the Passport Office.

“I contacted the Passport Office and they say, oh our process is any passports we get returned we destroyed and you have to apply for an emergency passport, or a new passport,” she said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed to Independent.ie that all passports which are sent back are destroyed.

“All passports returned to the Passport Service are cancelled as a security measure, as the integrity of that passport may have been compromised while it was not in the possession of the person to whom it was issued. Such passports are securely shredded by the Passport Service,” a DFA spokesperson said.

“The Passport Service takes its responsibility to protect the integrity of the Irish passport seriously. The Irish passport has a strong international reputation due to the robust processes involved in its issuance. The Irish passport was recently ranked sixth in the Henley Passport Index as it provides our citizens with visa-free access to 187 countries.”

Siobhan said she has paid €170 for the emergency passport, and she has been informed that it should be ready in August 2, which is same day her older daughter is meant to fly out.

Siobhan said she does “not” condone her younger daughter’s attempt to purchase alcohol but argued it is wrong to seize any ID.

She added: “Nobody has the right to take somebody’s passport. It was very badly organised at Longitude where the Gardaí were saying yes, we’ll post them out in a few days, not worry about it. If your passport is confiscated, I’m sure there are other young people out there in this situation but don’t realise that their passport is gone back to the Passport Office and will be destroyed.”

A second caller said her son’s learner driver’s licence was also confiscated. She said they were told by Gardaí that the license was returned to the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS), but the NDLS said it “has no record of it”.

The bar at Longitude was operated by Central Fusion – Clondalkin Taverns Limited.

In a statement released to Independent.ie, the company’s CEO Richard Irwin said: “The Bar Operator, Clondalkin Taverns Limited, applied to the Dublin Metropolitan District Court for a Licence in respect of Longitude Festival 2022, which was grant by Judge Mary Quirke on 18th May 2022.

“As part of the application the Judge stipulated the licence requirement to ensure no underage drinking occurs at the event and that all mitigating processes must be in place to ensure that the event is in compliance with the Intoxicating Liquor Act 1962. The licence conditions included a robust procedure to be in place for all bars on site. This required Bar Staff to request ID for any member of the public attending the event that appeared to be under the age of 21.

“There were instances where IDs (including passports and driving licences) were being used by a person not named on the ID. Where this occurred, as requested by the Garda, a licence-trained Bar Manager would request supporting documentation from the respective person to ascertain ID. If the person was unable to provide the supporting documentation required the ID was seized. A bailment form was completed by the Bar Manager and both this form and the ID was handed over to the Garda who were present on site.

“At the end of each event the Garda had a lost property point where the member of public were able to reclaim any ID seized if they were able to confirm they were the legal holder of the ID. Alternatively the correct legal holder of the ID would have been able to claim the ID from the Tallaght Garda Station. After the expiry period to reclaim for the local Garda station the ID was returned by the Gardaí to the respective statutory body (Passport Office or Driving Licence authority)."

Meanwhile, a Garda spokesperson said: “At music events at Marlay Park this summer, a dedicated tent was run by An Garda Síochána. Passports that were not reclaimed on the day from this tent were forwarded on to the Passport Office.”


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