I thank the Deputy for the chance to clear this up. There is a certain misconception about this problem, which was misunderstood by people writing about it. Of course, their message was then conveyed to the Deputy and others who do not actually know what is happening in this case.
It is the policy of the Government since 2013 that the PSC should be integrated into service provision across public services. The use of a single card through which people can have their identity verified offers great benefits to both the individual and the State in terms of time and convenience, as well as the integrity of public service delivery.
The policy of integrating the PSC into the provision of public services is not a matter of making it mandatory, but optional. The legislation in this area is complex and there was evidently a misunderstanding as to this policy and its implementation. The Deputy is partially right in that regard. I personally clarified the misunderstanding by directing that use of the PSC in driver licensing should be an option rather than a mandatory requirement.
The current situation is therefore that a person applying for a driving licence may present a PSC as proof of identity, or use such other documentation for proof of ID as was previously accepted.
At present, to undertake the driver theory test, a PSC is being called for. However, in the interests of consistency, alternatives to the PSC will be catered for. As the driver theory test is operated by the Road Safety Authority through a contractor, I gather that allowing for the use of a passport, for example, may involve revisions to that contract. That is an operational matter for the RSA.
In regard to expenditure, it is not correct that €2 million was spent on the effort to make the PSC mandatory in driver licensing. The €2 million in question was in fact the expenditure on the development of an online application system for driving licences, and this system is going ahead.
The expenditure by the RSA in regard to the PSC was an amount of the order of €30,000 to €40,000, which was spent on advertising the use of the PSC. While the PSC is not in fact mandatory, even this expenditure cannot be considered as waste. It was important to enhance awareness of the benefits of the PSC, as well as the availability of an online option for driving licence applications. The RSA awareness campaign encourages the use of both.