Wednesday 25 April 2018

Poll results: Independent.ie readers on whether they have signed up for public services card

Public Services Card
Public Services Card
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The controversial public services card has been making headlines of late as the Irish Independent revealed today that the card will now be needed for a growing number of benefits.

The card, which is currently used for Department of Social Protection payments, taking the driver theory test and for first-time adult passport applications, will be needed for a range of new benefits due to be introduced.

Opponents of the card have raised concerns about privacy and data protection but the Government has said the card will "ensure and improve services".

With opinion seemingly divided we asked Independent.ie readers if they already have a card or if they plan to get one.

With more than 4,000 votes the majority of readers said they had a card or would be getting one.

The vote breaks down as follows:

Results of Independent.ie poll
Results of Independent.ie poll

Yes (41pc): 1735 No (43pc): 1810 I intend to get one (16pc): 659

It was revealed today that the card will also be needed for the following services:

  • Online eligibility checks for new dental and optical benefits being brought this October
  • For applicants for student grants to Student Universal Support Ireland for the 2018/2019 year
  • The Road Safety Authority will require all driving licence applicants to have a PSC from April 2018
  • All adult passport applications and renewals in this jurisdiction will require a PSC from the fourth quarter of 2018
  • The Department of Justice has committed to introducing the 'optional use' of the PSC as proof of age card from quarter three of 2018

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty has defended the roll-out of the cards and said that the government "want to ensure and improve the services".

Meanwhile, in a statement this evening the Data Protection Commissioner said the issue of transparency needs to be addressed as public debate continues over the controversial public services card.

Helen Dixon, the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) has said "there is  a pressing need for updated, cleared and more detailed information to be communicated to the public and services users regarding the mandatory use of the public services card for accessing public services".

Transparency on the underpinning legislation, what data being collected, for what purpose and with whom the data might be shared needs to be addressed the statement said.

The provision of updated information was necessary under data protection law and would also go towards maintaining public confidence in the system she said.

The DPC has requested that the Department of Social Protection publishes a comprehensive FAQ on the card answering questions such as how the information is collected and who can access it.

The department has agreed to answer these questions and the document is due to be published shortly.

Readers may only cast one vote per device on Independent.ie

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