Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (1051)

Michael McGrath


1051. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Bill 2017 will be progressed; if enabling the use of public service cards as identification for the purposes of persons opening current accounts and obtaining other services from banks or credit unions has been examined; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44640/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

Social welfare legislation provides that a person can only use their PSC for the purposes of a transaction with a body which has been specified in Schedule 5 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended). It also provides that only a specified body may request a person's PSC for the purpose of transacting with that body.

Credit unions or other financial institutions are not currently specified bodies for the purposes of the PSC, so it is not possible for a person to offer their PSC as proof of identity for this purpose.

One of the provisions set out in Section 5 of the Social Welfare, Pensions, and Civil Registration Bill 2017 would, if enacted, enable citizens to volunteer their PSC where they wish to use it as a form of proof of identity and/or age. A non-specified body could not, however, request or demand the production of a PSC. The provision in the Bill simply gives individuals the option to use their PSC if they wish, as proof of identity and/or age, in transactions with non-specified bodies.

The 2017 Bill proposes a number of amendments to the Social Welfare Acts, the Pensions Act 1990 and the Civil Registration Act 2004, in addition to the provisions relating to PSC use. The amendments to the Pensions Act contain a number of key measures relating to Defined Benefit pension schemes which are very technical and involve complex policy issues. In order to achieve a resilient solution, it has been necessary to consult in detail with other Government Departments and obtain numerous legal advices from the Office of the Attorney General on various aspects of the provisions. When these matters have been resolved and amendments approved by Government, an early date for Committee Stage will be requested.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.