Seanad debates

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

Public Services Card

10:30 am

Photo of Victor BoyhanVictor Boyhan (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Cathaoirleach for selecting this item. I welcome the Minister of State to the House. This relates to the need for the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to make a statement on whether the public services card should be an acceptable form of identification in opening a bank account. I have received representations from people living in rural areas as well as vulnerable elderly people seeking alternatives when opening a bank account owing to the closure of rural post offices with which the Minister of State will be very familiar given that he represents a rural community.

Particularly when rural post offices close, people are being asked to have alternative arrangements to have their pensions or whatever to be transferred through a bank. A particular elderly lady from Galway contacted me. She has no passport and will not have a need for one. She does not think it is right that she should have to spend €75 getting one as a form of identification to open a bank account, in effect to arrange for her pension to be transferred into a bank account where there are no facilities, no ATMs, nothing.

The Minister of State will be very aware of this from his constituency. The public services card, PSC, is a card issued by the Government which verifies a person's identity. I know it is not necessarily a national ID card. There was much debate at the time on that issue. Many people were opposed to it and some people were in favour of it. It is an issue of the status of the card and whether it can be used as an official identification rather than people being required to go and apply for a driving licence which an elderly person would not have. In this case the woman does not drive. She does not have a passport, does not see a need for the passport and feels there should be a verifiable alternative.

A considerable amount of money was spent on developing the public services card. Can this be used as an official ID for this purpose? I would like to hear the Minister of State's view. It is a real issue of particular concern for people in rural communities and vulnerable elderly people. As a result of the shutdown of the post offices this issue has really come into focus.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.