Updated: 08/02/18 : 09:28:39
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Concerns over Public Services Card for Oireachtas Committee today

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties will outline its concerns over the rollout of the Public Services Card when it appears at an Oireachtas Committee today.

The ICCL says roll out of the Public Services Card is at a critical point because a large number of people will be brought into the system in the next couple of months.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, ICCL Executive Director Liam Herrick said that from March, those applying for a driving licence will come under the card system, with passport applications to follow later in the year.

Mr Herrick said this will bring in categories of people who are not dependent on, or possibly do not receive, social protection payments.

He said that the 2005 Social Welfare Act 2005 does not allow for the card in its current form and there have been piecemeal amendments to legislation over the years to gradually extend the range of the scheme.

Mr Herrick said most European countries with similar schemes also set up a separate national safeguard system, which has not happened in Ireland.

This specialised agency would have authority to investigate complaints and carry out checks on the integrity of the system.

He said the ICCL was not being alarmist about the possibility of security breaches and he called for the scheme's process to be slowed down, until all questions and queries were properly answered.

However, also speaking on Morning Ireland, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty said she would not slow the roll out of the the card and that the identification card was key in identifying welfare fraud.

ICCL representatives will appear before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection later this morning.