To: Charles Haughey, Irish Prime Minister

"Charlie" Haughey,
The Prime Minister of Eire,
c/o Parliamentary House of Eire,

13th August, 1990.

Dear Mr.Haughey,


Now here's a thing: I have always respected your government for its excellent stances, particularly on such important issues as Freedom of Speech, a fair electoral system, European harmony, the environment and listening to what the Pope has to say - stances which my own government, unfortunately, seems to treat as a big joke. One up to the Irish there!

However, during a visit to Ireland last week, I was startled (to say the least) to read in the excellent book "Ireland: The Rough Guide" (ISBN: 0-7471-0121-3) that your lot impose a £5 levy on everybody leaving Ireland - Irish, British and foreigners alike. This is not on, especially in a country currently presiding over the rest of us Europeans, so to speak.

I know you'll probably claim that a fiver isn't all that much, but, let's face it, it's about a half-gallon's worth of Guinness. Besides, I'm no legal expert, but I reckon it's probably against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or something like that. I mean to say, if some Arab wouldn't let you leave his country without paying, you'd probably say you were being held hostage and want your own country to declare war and invade or something.

I realise that with the rather sad annual nett loss of people from Ireland (most of them heading to this neck of the woods, I am led to believe), this scheme is probably a nice little earner on the quiet, but it seems a bit out-dated in this age of, until recently, international harmony. Why not show the world what good Europeans you Irish really are?

Yours for a freer world,

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