Report on Public Service Cards 'should be published immediately', says Carlow senator

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Darren Hassett

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Darren Hassett

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Senator Jennifer Murnane O'Connor

Fianna Fáil's Senator Jennifer Murnane O’Connor has said the full report compiled by the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) into the activities of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s processing of personal data in relation to Public Service Cards (PSC) "should be published immediately".

Senator Murnane O’Connor said recent reports that the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, was aware last year of the interim findings of the DPC was very concerning.

She called on the Minister to clarify what exactly he was told about the interim report, "given that the findings were very definitive that there was no legal basis for a PSC to be required for anything other than welfare payments, and that the Department’s retention of the data of millions of people wasn’t lawful".

She said: "Following the findings of the DPC the Department now have three weeks to stop all processing of PSC users’ data when the card is being used for a transaction between a member of the public and a public body other than the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

"It is estimated that data held on over 3 million card holders will also have to be deleted and it begs the question as to why this mess was allowed to occur in the first place."

She added: "This card has been dogged with controversy from the beginning. There was frustration when first implemented. Most recently there was the confusion over an application or renewal of a driver’s licence and whether the card was required.

"Civil Liberty groups, my Party colleagues and I all expressed concern as this card was introduced. These concerns have been vindicated. This is another worrying example of Fine Gael’s failure to manage their own Departments and projects.

"We must see the full report at the earliest opportunity. I am also calling on the Minister for Social Protection and the Minister for Finance to clarify what they were told last year in relation to the report."