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Pauline Conboy

Traveling Backwards – Irish Woman Denied Passport Rights

Pauline ConboyTravelling is amazing, the opportunity to see new worlds, make incredible friends, and learn about other cultures is one of life’s true joys.  That’s why I was so disappointed to hear Pauline Conboy’s story.  Pauline is 46 and living with Down Syndrome in Ireland.  Recently she’s been offered an opportunity to live with family in Florida.  The Irish Passport Office has taken away her passport so she has been unable to travel outside the country for the past year.  An experienced traveller, she’s visited before but would like to go one more time to see if this living situation is right for her.

Irish law is very supportive of people with disabilities.  According to the Irish Passports Act 2008 she has the ability  to ‘duly authorize’ a person of her choice to support her in getting documentation and achieving her goals. Pauline has chosen the persons she’d like to work with and is currently advocating for her right to travel.  She is working to open communication with the passport office on the reasons her passport has been revoked and the course of action she can take to change that.  The passport office has asked that she obtain a legal guardian.  Pauline is uncomfortable doing so and would like to find an alternative solution.

Every country has its bureaucratic struggles.  Canada has had its fair share.  I empathize with Pauline’s situation.  It is so often the case that vulnerable people face greater barriers not out of ill will but through people’s desire to see that they aren’t taken advantage of.  I hope that a happy medium can be struck for both parties as soon as possible.

She has started a petition to raise public awareness and shared the story in her own words.  For more information on Pauline and her story go here.


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