Hey, pal, a rule is a rule

No matter how earnestly John O'Donoghue pleaded, the security people at the airport in Cork, Ireland, were unyielding: He was not going to be allowed to board a Ryanair flight to Dublin at 9:50 a.m. last Sunday. An agent at the check-in desk explained that the carrier has a policy to which there can be "absolutely no exceptions." Each passenger must establish his or her identity by means of photographic proof - preferably on a national identity card, a valid driver's license, or a passport - "in the interests of safety and security." It's all spelled out on Ryanair's website. Alas, even though our guy is a frequent flier, he couldn't produce the requisite proof this time. So he was left with no choice but to make the 160-mile trip by car, in this case a chauffeur-driven limo, to make a promised appearance on a television program. So who is O'Donoghue and why should anyone care about his particular plight? Well, because of the irony. His current job is minister of tourism in Ireland's government. Before that, he was in charge of the Justice Ministry, which is responsible for security and law- enforcement. His spokesman said the incident was "no big deal."

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