Minister Doherty must clarify Government intentions behind Public Services Card - John Brady TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has said that Minister Doherty will face questions as to her intentions behind changes to the Public Services Card (PSC) when the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Bill 2017 is debated next month.
Teachta Brady said:
“The upcoming Social Welfare Bill includes a number of ambiguous provisions regarding the Public Services Card which I will be questioning Minister Doherty on in the coming weeks.
"The Bill seeks to enable a person to use the card as a means of establishing identity with service providers such as banks and utility providers. The Bill also allows for the person’s date of birth to be included on the card, if requested by an individual.
“These changes further point to an agenda on behalf of the Department to make the PSC a mandatory identity card. On the one hand, the Department continue to insist that the PSC is optional yet, on the other, they are forcing people to have one if they wish to apply for a first-time passport or to sit their driver theory test.
"In fact, the PSC will shortly be required for all passport and driving licence applications.
“So instead of an individual simply applying for a passport, they will first have to apply for a PSC and then for a passport, and the same for a driving licence.
“In recent days, a case came to light where a lady was left without her State Pension because she did not apply for a PSC. There was nothing optional about this case when it came to the PSC.
“The public are becoming increasingly concerned as to the motives behind the need for a PSC and the provisions included in the Social Welfare Bill only add to this.
"I will be questioning Minister Doherty on these provisions when the Bill is debated in September and I expect absolute clarity on the Government’s agenda with these cards.
“Sinn Féin will oppose any attempt by Government to introduce a national ID by stealth."