By | June 10, 2008

..from Palo Alto.

I checked the weather before I came out and it looked like early 20’s. In Ireland that means you need a cardigan cos of the breeze. Here it means anything heavier than linen feels like your wearing an overcoat. Emergency rush to the shop to buy lighter clothes.

One funny note. Queuing for immigration, a cheerful officer announced, “Ok, you folks from Ireland, All those in favour of Lisbon this way; the No Votes over there!” I obediently took my place in the yes queue. I was impressed yer man even knew it was going on.

And oh joy, one of fingerprints matched so I got through without having to be taken off to a room to explain why I have no fingerprints. The last time I came through they took fingerprints of all 10 digits so the fresh set are matching up at last.

I’ll be doing a column this week and am meeting the good folks from Enterprise Ireland later who will tell me how well the Irish are doing here. Standby…

24 thoughts on “Greetings

  1. B

    If you like the fingerprinting you will stand for anything the EU trots out in the name of “security”.

    Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response sometimes seen in an abducted hostage, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger (or at least risk) in which the hostage has been placed. The syndrome is named after the Norrmalmstorg robbery of Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm, Sweden, in which the bank robbers held bank employees hostage from August 23 to August 28 in 1973. In this case, the victims became emotionally attached to their victimizers, and even defended their captors after they were freed from their six-day ordeal.

    Sarah, you want to coform. Democracy means nothing to you.

  2. Sarah Post author

    Yes B. I know about Stockholm Syndrome.

    I don’t like it! Who said anything about liking it?

    But after lots of problems getting in on previous trips (due to having f*cked up fingerprints, ie none mostly) it was a great relief not to be delayed.

  3. An Fear Bolg


    There seem to be a lot of crazy loo-lahs who regularly read/comment on your site, take everything you say very seriously and post po-faced conspiracy-laden criticisms.

    Firstly I don’t know how you put up with it. Secondly I fear being in the company of crazy loo-lahs, being a regular reader/commenter.

    Oh dear.

  4. B

    OK. Fingerprints are for criminals. If you are not a criminal you don’t need to be fingerprinted.

  5. B

    “The last time I came through they took fingerprints of all 10 digits so the fresh set are matching up at last”

    If that isn;t Stockholm Syndrome I will eat my computer.

    We give up our freedoms so easily and without question. Until they stop treating vistors like criminals I will stay out of the US.

  6. pete

    I confidently predict that , within my lifetime, we will all be required to have electronic ID tags inseted under our skin, just like they do with dangerous/valuable animals now. It will be possible to track everyone, everywhere, all the time. Won’t that be great for police? And advertisers? Pretty bad for private investigators though. And everyone else.

  7. Sarah Post author

    Oh for God’s take B.

    I have to travel to the US for work. They take fingerprints. My last 4 trips have ended up waiting in an office in immigration while they check I’m not a terrorist cos my fingerprints don’t match their records. If they’ve sorted it out and saved me hassle I’m relieved.

    An Fear Bolg is right.

  8. CG

    Why don’t you have fingerprints Sarah? What are you hiding!? **insert mad diatribe here, preferably denigrating FG, Lisbon and/or Obama**

    (Seriously, I am curious as to why you don’t have fingerprints – a tragic childhood accident? A relic from your time in the CIA?)

  9. B

    Well my position is that if you stand for nothing you will take anything.

  10. Sarah Post author

    Contact dermatitis – which arose when I developed an allergy to biological washing powder after the birth of my first baby. How Freudian is that!!! She becomes a housewife and develops an aversion to key household product :-)

    Anyway, it took a while to figure this out and in the meantime my fingertips became red raw, cracked and extremely painful. When we realised what was causing it we switched to non-biological powder and Oxfam fair trade soap nuts, which are very hippy and cool. I’m all cured, but when I tried to enter the US afterwards, we discovered my fingerprints had burned off. Its kinda cool really :-)

  11. Gingerale

    Parenting changes a person all right — in your case even to the fingerprints.

    It’s nice to have you visiting the time zone, and I hope the rest of your stay in the States goes productively and happily.

  12. An Fear Bolg

    I admire B’s unrelenting devotion to principle. I assume (s)he never leaves the house, as contact with the outside world requires comprising those principles.

  13. Sean Smith

    If you’re meeting my brother David, tell him I hope he’s coping with Joshua on his own…

  14. Andrew Lawlor

    Correct me if I am wrong, but is the United States of America not a soveriegn, independent sate? Surely the entry requirements for foreign nationals who wish to enter the US is a matter for the US authorities alone.

    They have decided to fingerprint any foreign nationals entering the country – so what.

    If you don’t want to give your fingerprints, don’t go to the US. This is like the ‘undocumented’, illegal, law breaking, Irish in the US who have the gall to complain that US immigration treats them like criminals when they commit a criminal act by trying to illegally enter the country. It’s their country. If you don’t like the way they do things don’t go there. You won’t be missed.

    Pedants Corner: The correct saying is ‘If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.’ Not sure of the exact origin but I think it first arose during an Irish general election, possibly the 1948 election, and was directed at the Labour Party. Corrections please…

  15. B

    Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    And your fingerprints, iris, blood group,
    Your freedom,
    And your flight details, whatever is in your bag or laptop,
    And anything we might demand in the future,
    Do it or else

  16. Andrew Lawlor

    Exactly, B. Do it or else stay at home. It is their nation. If they want to enforce strict checks at the point of entry, then that is their business. It’s not as if they don’t have a problem with illegal immigrants.

    ‘Your Freedom’?

    How are you giving up your freedom. You are absolutely free not to go there, not to give your fingerprints, not to have your bag searched. Do you feel that we have some moral or legal right to automatically enter the US just because of a poem written over a hundred years ago.

    Once again, B, it their country. Visitors should be nice to them, obey the rules and they will, usually, be very welcome to return at another time. Break those rules and you will find yourself with at least a ten year ban.

    When someone comes to my house I expect them to behave and to treat me with a little respect. I don’t mean bowing and scraping, but definitely no looking me in the eye or they will find themselves deposited poste haste at the end of the avenue by a rather large footman

  17. B

    I think respect goes two ways. I don’t go into someones house and move the furniture but I do expect that my host trusts me. Even a little bit.

    I know the US is at war without end with a figurehead they cannot find. Funny that the rest of us have to pay for the sins of another. Its just like school when one guy breaks a window the whole class was punished.

    I will give fingerprints but I do think it is unnecessicary and suspecting everyone that crosses its borders will just tie them up in beurocracy and move them away from their stated goal of defeating terrorism.

    As for illegal Irish. Fair play to them. Many of them have families and businesses. Many became US citizens. My landlord in NY was an illegal for 5 years. Now he is American and it is a shame we lost the generation he belongs to. Being an illegal immigrant doesn’t make you a criminal. There are ways and means to get legal in the US. It can take years but demonising them won’t help us or them. Sure, you snuck in the back door but do you think the original Irish asked the Indians could they come over? Hell no, they killed them all.

  18. Sarah Post author

    God, such agro.

    I met Declan Collins and Hilary Keane. We had a great chat. Declan’s been fighting the cause of the Irish abroad for nearly 40 years and Hilary helps organise the software start-ups into shows, conferences, pitch rehearsals and VC pitching fests.

    Everyone here is positive and cheerful.
    The shops are ominously quiet though. Though perhaps that’s just here in the Valley. Disastrously I won’t have time to go to SFO and see what’s happening there. Maybe next time.
    And there are still Republicans lurking who think that tax = theft.
    I suggested to one of my colleagues that he come to Europe where we refer to the failed capitalist experiment 😉

  19. Andrew Lawlor

    At risk of sounding Crewser-like, let me say again. It’s their country. How they choose to enforce their immigration laws is their business. It is the business of the American government and the American people. If you don’t like how they do it you are not obliged in any way to engage with them in any way. Millions of people will travel through US immigration this year an the vast majority of them will have no problem giving their fingerprints of having their passports scanned. A large proportion of those who object to this are people who are committing a criminal act by trying to illegally enter the United States. Yes, B, knowingly entering the US illegally is a criminal act in the US and doing so does make one a criminal in the US. It matters not that one may be living there undetected for five years. It matters not that one may have US citizen children attending state schools. It matters not that you one may a business and employ however many people. If one enters illegally, one cheats the potentially legitimate immigrants queing at the US embassy in Ballsbridge or any US embassy around the world.

    Imagine if you will the sight of thousands of illegal immigrants marching on Dáil Eireann demanding the right to stay here in Ireland because they have been here for quite some time and they have kids and they work hard etc. Imagine then the prime minister of Nigeria or Kazakhstan standing in our parliament asking that we throw our immigration rule book out the window to accomodate these law breakers. The reaction would be massive and Joe Duffy’s phone would melt such would be the volume of calls demanding that we throw them out.

  20. crocodile

    I’m going to the States in a couple of weeks and, while I want to feel as secure as possible, I’d be happier if I felt all the restrictions were conducive to greater safety and not just the result of a political security lobby playing on the fears of American voters. Having seen a Pakistani girl reduced to tears the last time I went through US Immigration, I think there’s a limit to how the checks are carried out, too. If charm is too much to ask for, how about a bit of basic courtesy?

  21. Electron

    You must admit that airport security personnel are under serious pressure – all it takes is one lapse and lot of people could die. I was coming out of LA two months ago and this lady in front of me produced her ticket and passport at a check point – on inspection the names didn’t match, she then declared that she had a change of name and fumbled through the passport to a page with another name, this didn’t match either and she then said that she had yet another name, a third and again proceeded to fumble through the pages. Needless to say she was waved to one side before there was a riot in the queue. A number of those in one day would drive anybody insane – forget about courtesy, it’s the effectiveness of the security that matters.

  22. Gerry


    I have no choice but to go to America on a regular enough basis. My job depends on it and I don’t appreciate being treated like a criminal to go there. I would not holiday in America basically because I go often enough anyway but the immigration is off putting. But it is not true to say that people, even the majority of people have the choice to disengage.

    And we all know it is the illusion of security so ultimately it is a problem about being engaged in a web of stupidity as much as anything else.

    As to the scenario you painted (immigrants marching on the dail) – all of that is perfectly plausible and not remarkable. We had the Afghans in Christ Church already. I don’t think there would be outrage if the Angolan President said let these hard working, tax-paying people stay. You can’t stop morons ringing joe duffy- -i t doesn’t represent anything

Comments are closed.