Pregnant woman distressed after Irish passport issue

A Limavady woman says her daughter was left distressed after a well known furniture company refused to accept her Irish passport as formal proof of identification.

The woman, who prefers not to be named, claims she and her daughter arrived at Harvey’s furniture Store in Coleraine last Thursday to sign a credit agreement for a suite of furniture she planned to buy.

The 22-year-old brought along the documents required - bank details, a utility bill and her passport, which is Irish - to sign the agreement.

However, her mum says her daughter was subsequently told the company could not accept an Irish passport. When the woman’s mum asked to speak to the manager she came out and explained Irish passports were not accepted, that it was company policy, the woman told the ‘Journal’.

The woman makes it clear the manager was not in any way rude, they were in effect the “messenger”.

“My complaint is that the message is wrong,” she said, claiming it was “blatant discrimination”, that an Irish passport that is accepted anywhere in the world to gain legal entry to any country cannot be accepted by a British furniture company in Coleraine.

The woman said her daughter was so distraught she had to sit and console her for two hours in the car park outside as she “wept and wept and wept” and feared she would go into labour (she is due to have a C-Section in eight days).

The woman said the entire episode made her daughter feel “humiliated, as if she had done something wrong”.

The woman said she ended up paying for the suite of furniture as they wouldn’t accept her daughter’s ID.

“My daughter said to me, ‘I have never felt so degraded and hurt in all my life,” said the woman. “She is still very upset about it, but she did nothing wrong.”

A spokesperson for Harveys said yesterday: “Irish passports are an acceptable form of ID for any finance applications made for any resident in NI. During this application we had some issues with the acceptance of the passport number on our finance providers’ systems.”

The spokesperson said Harveys was investigating the issues raised to ensure “they don’t happen in the future” and that it apologised to the woman’s daughter.