Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (766, 791)

Róisín Shortall


766. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on the concerns of the pharmacy sector in respect of the loss of driver photo ID business arising from the awarding of a contract to the National Driver Licence Service; if he will explain the process involved in the awarding of the contract and the reason pharmacies were not allowed to tender for it in view of the fact that many have made a significant investment in equipment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8257/13]

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Terence Flanagan


791. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the concerns of pharmacies regarding the fact that photographic ID services have been awarded to National Driver Licence Service and that pharmacies have not been able to tender or quote for providing the service, that pharmacies also have concerns that they have invested in state of the art equipment and will now not reap the benefits of same; if he has considered mandating hard copy printed ID as the method by which photo ID images are to be collected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8726/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 766 and 791 together.

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 to become the central driver licensing authority in Ireland.  This came into effect on 12 January 2013.

The new system involves three contracted 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 specialist unit based in the RSA in Ballina.

The setting of specifications and conditions related to the tender processes for the three contracts was a matter for the RSA. I had no power to intervene, and, I understand, the contractors have now been appointed.