Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Minister Regina Doherty has serious questions to answer on Public Services Card scandal - John Brady TD

16 August, 2019 - by John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs & Social Protection John Brady TD has said that Minister Regina Doherty has serious questions to answer following the long awaited completion of the Data Commissioner’s report into the Public Services Card.

It is now known that the Data Commissioner’s report has been sent to the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection this week.  

Teachta Brady said:

“The Public Services Card has been marked by controversy since it was first rolled out in 2011. We all remember Minister Doherty’s claim that the card was 'not compulsory but mandatory' in order to claim social welfare payments. Yet, at the same time a person could not apply for a passport or a driver’s licence without one. 

“The Data Commissioner has made its findings crystal clear - there is no legal obligation for any person to have a Public Services Card to access anything other than a social welfare payment. It found that by law, the only Department that can insist on people having a card is the Department for Employment Affairs & Social Protection. 

“The report has also found that data on individuals who were granted a Public Services Card following confirmation of their identity has been retained indefinitely by the Department without any legal basis.

“The Department must now move immediately to comply with all requirements laid down by the Data Commissioner including the deletion of all supporting documentation held by the Department from previous applications made for the card. 

"The requirement to hold a Public Services Card in order to apply for a passport for first time adult applicants must also be removed. 

“The Data Commissioner’s report must be published in full within the next seven days as promised. Following that, Minister Doherty has serious questions to answer.”

Connect with Sinn Féin