Hide out in Ireland? Ah here, Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

So Edward Snowden, whistleblower du jour, needs to find a safe haven away from the US government, and fast. One of the 21 states he has applied to for sanctuary is the li’l ol’ Republic of Ireland.

There’s a sneaking suspicion that Snowden, currently stuck in Moscow airport, has been sticking pins into the atlas in desperation. The 30-year-old North Carolina native has had his American passport cancelled and his citizenship revoked after he went to the press with details of a mass surveillance programme run by the US government.

Enda and co have already said that Snowden cannot apply for asylum without being present in Ireland, and then he would have to be subject to the same asylum process as any other applicant. This, despite legions of urban legends to the contrary, does not mean free buggies, but rather shared accommodation in somewhere like Mosney and a allowance of just €19 a week.

Maybe Snowden is just so desperate that this prospect seems attractive. Surely, for a man with every reason to watch President Barack Obama’s every move, he must have noticed the enthusiastic welcome the Prez and family received during their recent visit to the island? Or perhaps he mistook the midges that attacked Malia and Sasha Obama in Glendalough for some kind of subversive rebellion on the part of the Irish?

Sorry Eddie (can we call you that?), Ireland just won’t work out for you. Take for example, Venezuela, your next best bet. This is Venezuela in the summer time:

I think we should all apply for asylum here (via Wikimedia Commons)

I think we should all apply for asylum here (via Wikimedia Commons)

Unfortunately, the Irish climate is a little less reliable. Today for example demonstrated Ireland’s heroic capacity for rainfall…

This wasn't taken today, but you get the drift (UggyBoyUggyGirl via Flickr)

This wasn’t taken today, but you get the drift (UggyBoyUggyGirl via Flickr)

It’s not just the weather, either. As mentioned earlier, we do have a fondness for US leaders. Indeed, a certain opposition TD did liken it to prostitution. This may be an issue for you, Eddie, having had the unpleasantness with Uncle Sam.

On the upside, you may find that we Irish have a rather flexible attitude to privacy, which might be up your alley. We can keep secrets when we need to (rebellions, corrupt planning deals etc) but we’re also a very open race. For example, just try and go to the gym in a small Irish town. Within hours, someone will tell you they saw you and your “big red head… I suppose you’re trying to shift those last few pounds?”

This openness and transparency makes Ireland, sadly, the last place to be overly troubled by Big Brother. In a country where the local busybody knows the time and date of your last sneeze, we’re neither surprised or upset that the US government has been reading our Facebook messages.

Oh well. Maybe when all this has blown over, you can come visit Ireland for a holiday and see our wonderful food, landscape and people at your ease.

*Lead image via softpedia

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who revealed privacy breaches by the US government, has applied for asylum in Ireland. He may want to think again, says The Daily Shift’s Roisin Peddle… 

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