Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (767)

Finian McGrath


767. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on a submission (details supplied) regarding phorographic ID services. [8290/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Government decided in 2011 to centralise driver licence provision, following an examination of the options for driver licensing which found that a centralised system would offer enhanced security and consistency, and be more efficient and cost-effective. The Road Safety Authority (Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness) Act 2012 provides for the RSA (not the NRA) to become the central driver licensing authority in Ireland.  This came into effect on 12 January 2013. 

The new system involves three outsourced elements, a card production facility, a front office for engaging with the customer, and a back office to process applications.  All three are to be overseen by a ‘centre of excellence’ based in the RSA itself.   The card licence is standardised across the European Union and therefore there must be consistency in the quality and standard of information used.  The photograph will be digital and will not be stuck on to the card in the way it is to the current paper licence.  The capture of the photograph is included in the fee for the licence.  As the system develops, the SAFE2 ID standard will be implemented, at which point the only option will be the digital photo taken at the Front Office Network.

The operation of the tender processes for the outsourced elements was a matter for the RSA, I had no power to intervene in it, and the contractors have already been procured.