My son had a terrible time getting a Canadian passport. He had no problems with the Canadian government - he was born in Canada and thanks to the their civil service, which makes British and Irish civil servants seem obstructionist and boorish, his passport was soon winging its way to him by special, to-be-signed-for delivery. It never arrived. Somehow, someone else now has that passport and is making their own uses of it.
I thought of my son's experience this morning when it emerged that Israeli secret agents had not only murdered a Hamas commander in Dubai but had stolen British and Irish passports to help them do their vile work. Since the discovery of the theft, the British have been making loud protesting noises; the Irish, as far as I know, haven't uttered a squeak, or if they have you may be sure it was of the 'Oh please, we don't want to create a fuss but would you mind terribly not doing that again? Except you have to?'
It's important to keep our eye on the main issue here - the execution of a man by the Israeli government. You don't hear too loud protest from the Americans, because they themselves engage in the same kind of death-dealing when the opportunity presents itself, and if it involves some 'collateral damage', what the hell. You don't hear too loud protest from the Irish, because the Irish government doesn't want to annoy anyone, especially the Yanks, and they know that if they start shouting at the Israelis, that might upset the US. And you don't hear too loud protest from Britain, because Britain kills people - even its own citizens - when it figures they're getting too much in the way. Sometimes it uses its own army - remember Bloody Sunday? - and sometimes it uses proxy assassins - remember Pat Finucane?
So while it's a serious matter that one government should be involved in the theft of passports from the citizens of another country, it's the merest diplomatic blip compared to the brutal fact that those who tell us they uphold the law break it when they decide they want to, and to the fact that those who urge the abandonment of violence and the pursuit of goals through exclusively peaceful means are hypocritical beyond words.