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Government award for process linked to Public Services Card


PSC Public Services Card

PSC Public Services Card

PSC Public Services Card

The Government has given the process at the heart of the ill-starred Public Services Card (PSC) - which now appears headed for the courts - its overall award for high-tech excellence.

The Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) has found it was illegal for the Government to insist that citizens use the card to access public services other than welfare.

Now it appears likely that various arms of the State will end up suing each other in expensive and complex court actions.

As part of the Government's face-off with the regulator, it has emerged that earlier this month the Government gave the so-called 'MyGovID' its Ireland eGovernment 2019 Overall Award. This is the public service identity framework which allows citizens to use a single account to access various government services online, from driving licences to pensions.

But Fianna Fáil welfare spokesman Willie O'Dea said access to MyGovID requires people to have a PSC - something which the Office of the DPC, headed by Helen Dixon, has ruled to be illegal.

"Giving a government award to this flawed process is rather like the citizens of Troy, in ancient times, giving an award for carpentry to the Greeks who made that infamous wooden horse. It is laughable," Mr O'Dea told the Irish Independent.

The little-noticed overall government high-tech award was presented by Junior Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor on September 11 at what was described as "a gala lunch" in Dublin Castle.

The government website states that "MyGovID is wholly separate from the Public Services Card" and grew out of providing online social welfare services.

But Mr O'Dea insisted many of the online services on this internet one-stop-shop require the controversial PSC.

Government officials have continued to defend the principle of the card - but some departments have signalled they are moving back from making it a precondition for accessing services. The government website says the concept was developed by the Social Protection Department for use in providing online services via MyWelfare.ie.

Irish Independent