Pharmacies 'to lose €5m a year' over new licences
PHARMACIES and other digital photograph providers stand to lose up to €5m a year following the switchover to credit-card format driving licences, according to the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU).
The IPU claims that the introduction of new standardised EU driving licences from January 19 means that local pharmacies and other providers of digital passport and driving licence photographs will be out of pocket.
As part of the changes, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) awarded a tender to a private company to take the photographs exclusively for Irish driving licences.
Credit Card Systems Ireland Ltd will now be the only provider of the required digital photographs that will be scanned on to any new or renewed driving licences and permits this year.
Other EU countries, including the UK, accept passport photos for driving licences taken anywhere as long as they meet certain criteria.
Officials from the RSA could not be reached for comment last night.
However, the IPU said the switch to the standardised licences would cost pharmacies – many of which invested between €5,000 and €8,000 in digital photography equipment.
"While the IPU is not against the introduction of credit card driving licences, we would have serious concerns about the impact of this new policy, not only on members, the vast majority of who supply photographic services, but also the serious inconvenience to the general public, who will no longer have the option of getting their photographs locally for their driving licences," said IPU vice-chairman Daragh Connolly.