Posted on | June 30, 2011 | No Comments
As many of you may know, I ran as an Independent candidate in the last general election, the Monday after the count I rang the office of the returning officer to enquire as to whether I need to submit my expenses or did any other documentation need taking care of. As I had not been elected and had not even come close to the quarter of a quota needed to claim back my election expenses I was told that there was nothing else needed doing.
Several days later I received two multi-paged documents that did in fact need filling out, detailing all expenses incurred. Though detailed in the extreme, most of the questions did not apply to me, as I had not raised any monies to run and my budget was tiny, my only real expense was the literature I handed out at the doors.
These documents needed my signature on them and my signature needed to be witnessed, but not just by “any old” witness, it had to be one of the following, a commissioner for Oaths, a Notary Public, a peace commissioner or a practicing solicitor.
Fortunately for me a commissioner for oaths happened to live quite close to me so I got her to do the deed at the cost of ten euro a signature. I posted the forms back happy in the knowledge that I had done my civic duty to the best of my ability. (I include my decision to run as part of that duty)
But that was not to be the end of it, oh no, I received the documents back yesterday, a full two months after they were first received in Dublin. Apparently the documents were not witnessed properly. The witness should have signed on the last page of each of the two documents, not on the second last page the page that actually had my signature on it.
Now does this not seem absolutely ridiculous to you or is my judgement clouded by the fact that it happen to me?, I mean to say, the country is going bankrupt, we have politicians that got elected on promises that they have no intention of keeping and we have a civil service that seems to have nothing better to be doing that split hairs over the position of a signature.
Any documents that I have signed in the past that required witnessing, the witnesses’ signature usually appears right under my own, at the very least on the same page as it. I can only assume that there is a very good reason for doing this, it is I assume, to prevent the page with the witness signature on it being removed from the original document and then appended to the back of another non witnessed document of the same kind. Now I know that our politicians are much too upright a bunch of people to even think up such a plan, let alone execute it, but shouldn’t we protect them from ever having such an allegation levelled towards one of them, after all, are they not too busy working on our behalf that they do not even have the time, to let’s say, make over 3600 phone calls to a premium phone number over a few days.
In my mind this episode raises two interesting points, the first being, how many civil servants up and down the country are employed to nitpick like this on a daily basis, does the country really need such diligence to get us out of the mess we’re in, where was this kind of adherence to detail when our bank were allowed conduct their business in the manner that led them to bankrupt and entire Country. The second point that comes to mind is did all the other candidates get people to witness their signature on a completely different piece of paper than that which held their signature and would such a document stand up in court as a properly witnesses document, if ever challenged?
What we have in this Country is bureaucracy gone mad, we have it in the Government, we have it in the Dáil and we have it throughout the civil service. It’s time that commonsense should prevail, we need real leadership, we need real action, it is time to get a shovel (or should that be a spade) and start digging ourselves out of this mess that we find ourselves in.