206. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the locations of the offices in which the public services card may be applied for; her plans to expand the number of offices in which persons can apply for the card; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8940/18 asked on 21 Feb 2018 - Public Services Card Availability)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): There are over 100 of the Department’s offices nationally where customers can complete in-person registration to SAFE level 2. Details of the offices are provided in tabular form below. 
SAFE level 2 is the minimum level for the issue of a Public Services Card as a physical token of authenticated identity. There is at least one SAFE location in every county and it would be the intention, in due course, that in-perso...

47. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons that have been refused access to social protection payments for not having a public services card, PSC; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8407/18 asked on 20 Feb 2018 - Public Services Card Authentication)

Deputy John Curran: Last Thursday week, the Joint Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection began to examine issues relating to the public services card, PSC. During the meeting, we were told about a specific case of a lady whose pension had been refused for non-production of a card. How common is that practice? How many people have been refused access to social protection entitlements for not producing this card and how were those issues resolved?
 ...

52. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the public services card is mandatory or compulsory; and her views on whether elderly persons and other persons depending on social welfare payments should have their payments terminated for not agreeing to accept the card. (Question 8306/18 asked on 20 Feb 2018 - Public Services Card)

Deputy Joan Collins: My question is a follow up to that posed by Deputy Curran. I do not know why the questions were not grouped. I met a lady last week who said she had asked for legal direction as to why she had to go through the process of getting a public services card. She had proof of identity, she was able to produce her passport and her marriage certificate and she did not get her payment. There has to be some clarity regarding this process. People do not understand exactly what it ...

55. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if it is a legal requirement to accept a public services card if a card is needed to legally access some services; if the single customer view can be legally used for data sharing; if so, the legislation in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8338/18 asked on 20 Feb 2018 - Public Services Card Data)

(Deputy Regina Doherty): The public services card is simply the token that proves that a person, Joan Collins for example, has completed the SAFE 2 level process and that she is Joan Colllins. The card is only a by-product or a token of having gone through that standard. There are 50 public bodies - or their agents - detailed and listed in the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005, as amended, that can ask a person for the public services card. This is mostly so they can do business with the ...

616. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to set out the criteria needed for a person from Bulgaria when applying for a public services card. (Question 6734/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Public Services Card Provision)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Face-to-face registration for a Public Services Card (PSC) is called SAFE registration.
If a person needs a PSC they can make an appointment online by using www.mywelfare.ie or by calling into their local Intreo Centre or social welfare local office. Details of the Department’s SAFE office locations are available www.welfare.ie.
SAFE registration takes about 15 minutes to complete (once all documents are presented). ...

621. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a review regarding the use of the public services card as part of section 5 of the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Bill 2017 will be carried out in view of the fact that while the card is not mandatory, the list of services requiring the card is increasing; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6823/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Only bodies specified in legislation and currently included in Schedule 5 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended) or their agents can ask for and use the Public Services Card (PSC). The current proposal in Section 5 of the Social Welfare Bill does not change this. That protection will remain if the legislative proposal is adopted.
As the law currently stands, even if a card holder volunteers their ...

287. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if private companies and-or bodies are permitted to accept the public services card as a form of identification in the context of section 5 of the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Bill 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6153/18 asked on 07 Feb 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Only bodies specified in legislation and currently included in Schedule 5 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended) or their agents can ask for and use the Public Services Card (PSC). The current proposal in Section 5 of the Social Welfare Bill does not change this. That protection will remain if the legislative proposal is adopted. 
As the law currently stands, even if a card holder volunteers their...

288. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will address a matter (details supplied) regarding the public services card; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6158/18 asked on 07 Feb 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): A Public Services Card (PSC) may be issued to a person who has successfully completed a SAFE 2 identity registration. The person’s Public Service Identity Dataset is verified as part of this process. Adopted people are treated in the same way as other individuals in terms of verification of identity. Name, date of birth, place of birth and mother’s birth surname are generally verified from the birth certificate or, ...

576. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the policy regarding the issuing of the public services card and persons who are adopted (details supplied); if only certain information is inscribed on the card; if information regarding a person’s adoption history or status is inscribed or encoded on the card; if a person has ever been refused a card based on his or her adoption status; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3940/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - Public Services Card Provision)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): A Public Services Card (PSC) may be issued to a person who has successfully completed a SAFE 2 identity registration. The person’s Public Service Identity Dataset is verified as part of this process. Adopted people are treated in the same way as other individuals in terms of verification of identity. Name, date of birth, place of birth and mother’s birth surname are generally verified from the birth certificate or,...

585. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the date on which the public services card was first introduced. (Question 2954/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 585 and 586 together.
The acronym SAFE stands for ‘Standard Authentication Framework Environment’. It is a standards-based framework for establishing and verifying an individual’s identity for the purposes of accessing public services. 
This SAFE standard has four levels –
SAFE 0 = No assurance of identity
SAFE 1 = Balance of probabilities 
SAFE 2 = Substantial assurance 
SAFE 3 = Bey...

586. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the date on which the safe 2 process was introduced; and when the first procedures under safe 2 took place. (Question 2955/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 585 and 586 together.
The acronym SAFE stands for ‘Standard Authentication Framework Environment’. It is a standards-based framework for establishing and verifying an individual’s identity for the purposes of accessing public services. 
This SAFE standard has four levels –
SAFE 0 = No assurance of identity
SAFE 1 = Balance of probabilities 
SAFE 2 = Substantial assurance 
SAFE 3 = Bey...

21. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his Department’s work with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection in respect of the roll out of the public services card in 2017; the outstanding work to be completed with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection in relation to the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2233/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Public Services Card (PSC), and its online counterpart MyGovID, is the Government’s standard personal identity verification scheme, and it is core to delivering valuable public services to the people who need them in a secure and efficient manner.  The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is the lead implementation body for the production of the Public Services Card, the MyGovID electronic identity service...

23. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if persons that make new claims for social welfare payments must have a public services card (PSC); if her attention has been drawn to the fact that there is evidence that new claimants are being told that they will not be eligible for payments unless they hold a PSC; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 1911/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The purpose of SAFE 2 registration is to verify a person’s identity to a substantial level of assurance. Once identity is so verified, a Public Services Card can be issued as a physical token of proof of that identity verification. My Department makes it clear to our customers that they need to complete a SAFE 2 registration to access, or continue to access, payments and entitlements. This is not an unreasonable con...

501. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the services that require a public services card; if a public services card is required to open a post office account; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 51840/17 asked on 05 Dec 2017 - Public Services Card Provision)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): A Public Services Card is a physical token that may be issued to a person once they successfully complete a SAFE 2 identity verification process.
SAFE 2 identity verification is currently required for:
- Access to Social Welfare Services (including Child Benefit and Treatment Benefits)
- First time adult passport applicants in the state
- Replacement of lost, stolen or damaged passports issued prior to January 2005, w...

669. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the overall cost to date of the public services card, including production, activation and all other associated costs; the life span of the card; the nature of the contract with the service provider; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50526/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 669 and 674 together. 
My Department (on behalf of the public service) entered into a contract for the production, personalisation, distribution and associated helpdesk support of 3 million PSCs by the end of 2017. The contract was awarded to Biometric Card Services (BCS), an Irish registered company based in Co. Wicklow. It was a condition of award of the contract that all data and...

672. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons who have had their social welfare allowances or services withdrawn due to the fact they did not have or refused to apply for a public services card; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50632/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): In 2005, the Government approved a rules-based standard for establishing and authenticating an individual’s identity for the purposes of access to public services. This standard is known as the Standard Authentication Framework environment – or SAFE. A person who successfully completes a SAFE 2 registration process (i.e. verifies their identity to a substantial level of assurance) may be issued with a Public Service...

674. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the costs associated with the introduction of the public services card scheme during 2017, including the staff hours involved and the costs of postage to persons notifying them to obtain a card; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50634/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 669 and 674 together. 
My Department (on behalf of the public service) entered into a contract for the production, personalisation, distribution and associated helpdesk support of 3 million PSCs by the end of 2017. The contract was awarded to Biometric Card Services (BCS), an Irish registered company based in Co. Wicklow. It was a condition of award of the contract that all data and...

675. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the obtaining of data through SAFE 2 and the public services card is fully compliant with the general data protection regulation law including ensuring that ownership of the data ultimately rests with the persons rather than her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50635/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will come into force on the 25th May 2018, replaces the existing data protection framework under the EU Data Protection Directive and imposes a general necessity to have specific legislative provisions underpinning the methods organisations use to process data. 
The main legal powers providing for and relating to SAFE registration and the PSC are set out in the S...

676. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she issued a communication to An Post requesting that presentation of public services cards be made mandatory for receipt of any social protection payment; the date on which this communication was issued; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50636/17 asked on 28 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection operates its contract for cash payment services with An Post. The Department and An Post agreed a protocol in 2014 governing the forms of identification which claimants, or their agents, must produce in order to collect payments. There has been no change in this agreed protocol or in the forms of identification required of claimants to collect their social w...

243. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans for incorporating the use of the public services card within his Department; the services that it will be used for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48945/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Since 29 March 2016, my Department has required all first-time passport applicants aged eighteen and above who are resident in Ireland to hold a valid Public Services Card (PSC). This requirement also applies to the small number of adult passport applicants whose last passport was issued before 1 January 2005 and has since been reported as lost, stolen or damaged.
The Government decided on 17 July this year that the PSC would be req...

573. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason an adopted person must supply their adoption certificate when applying for a public services card; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48952/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): A Public Services Card may be issued to a person who has successfully completed a SAFE 2 identity registration. The person’s Public Service Identity Dataset is verified as part of this process. Adopted people are treated in the same way as other individuals in terms of verification of identity. Name, date of birth, place of birth and mother’s birth surname are generally verified from the birth certificate or, in th...

602. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to set out the number of private companies that have access to social protection personal files and-or records of citizens in the context of the public services card; if she will provide a list of those companies; the reason each company has access to those records or files; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49380/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): In general, private companies do not have access to social protection data.
Section 263 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005 (as amended) sets out the legal basis for the issuance and use of the Public Services Card (PSC). Use of the PSC is restricted to public service bodies specified in law (known as specified bodies) and their agents (i.e., organisations working on their behalf or performing one of their ...

242. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 1218 of 7 November 2017, the way in which a person can register and verify a MyGov account if they do not have a phone number or mobile phone device and or a tablet device; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48449/17 asked on 16 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): A MyGovID account is a secure online account for accessing public services. The process for registering and using a verified MyGovID account proves in the online environment that the person has had their identity verified to the SAFE 2 standard. As part of the application of the SAFE 2 standard in the online environment, my Department seeks to ensure that a person’s MyGovID account is not used by another person. This ...

225. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 1218 of 7 November 2017, her views on whether a person’s phone number is personal information in the context of verifying a MyGov account; if she will clarify point A of her original reply; if it is the phone handset or the device that is being verified or the phone number; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48436/17 asked on 15 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): While a person’s phone number is an element of their contact information, it is also regarded as personal information. A phone number in itself cannot identify a person. No additional information, e.g., any of the Public Service Identity data held by my Department, is issued with any text sent as part of a MyGovID verification process. 
Point (a) of my previous response related to the process for verification of an ...

11. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the details of the media campaign designed to promote the public services card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46856/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - Public Services Card)

Deputy Dara Calleary: There has been quite considerable controversy around the public services card. The Data Protection Commissioner is investigating issues around it under section 10 of the Data Protection Act. Can the Minister outline how much money is being used to promote the use of the public services card and whether the expenditure of that money is being suspended pending the outcome of the data protection review?
 ...