Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (763)

James Bannon


763. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will put a compensation plan in place for photographers, small shops and businesses, which have suffered loss of income as a result of the awarding the driver photo ID business contract to the National Driver Licence Service, and as some of them have invested thousands of pounds in equipment, that will now be useless; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10275/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The centralised national driver licensing system under the Road Safety Authority (RSA) 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 overseen by a specialist unit 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 on licences will be digital and will not be stuck on to the card in the way it was for the old 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.

 At present, and until September of this year, driver licence applications, including the non-ditigal photographs, will continue to be processed by Motor Tax Offices. Thereafter the new standardised digital photographic requirements will come into effect. The system that comes into place at that stage will be of significant benefit to consumers, as the processing will take place at the new front office centres will have longer open hours than under the current arrangments and will also be open on Saturdays. Furthermore, consumers will only be required to make one journey to get their license and won't be required to make a seperate journey to have a photograph taken, and one fee will cover the license and this will include the photography costs.

 I have no plans to provide compensation for such individuals as proposed by the Deputy. It should be noted that they can still use their equipment for photographs for other forms of identification.