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Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 20 February, 2019
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It turns out you WON'T need a PSC to apply for your driving licence after all

At least not for in-person applications. Previously, the RSA had said the card would be a mandatory requirement for anyone looking to apply for a licence from 9 April.

psc The Public Services Card

IT HAS EMERGED that a Public Services Card (PSC) will not be a compulsory prerequisite for applying for a driving licence or provisional licence going forward.

In late February, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) stated that, from 9 April, all applicants for a licence would have to first obtain a PSC.

4 The initial statement, dated 20 February, by the RSA regarding the need to hold a PSC in order to apply for a driving licence Source: cianan

The RSA now says that, while a PSC can be used to obtain a licence, such an action will now be voluntary.

Anecdotally, the initial announcement by the RSA on 20 February led to many people who were hoping to obtain a licence applying for a PSC purely to that end.

“I am happy to clarify that from the 9 April the Public Services Card will replace the requirement for certain documentation when applying for a driving licence or learner permit,” a spokesman for the RSA told TheJournal.ie this afternoon.

6 An Irish driving licence

However, this will now be a voluntary requirement and an applicant will have two options available to them to validate their identity and residency during the application process.

Those two options are to produce a PSC at an appointment for a licence, or to bring proof of identity/address, such as is currently the case for all applications.

“Following discussions with the Department of Transport, the RSA has agreed the approach in terms of the requirements for those applying for a driving licence at the NDLS centres. We are allowing the PSC as well as other forms of ID to be accepted with a licence application,” the spokesman added.

The PSC will remain the sole form of ID acceptable for online renewals however. That service is due to go live at the end of April.

The reasoning behind the seeming climbdown was not made clear by the RSA, which has repeatedly had the legality of its use of the PSC for statutory functions called into question.

The PSC has previously been made a necessary requirement for all driving theory test applications, together with first-time passport applications, as part of the card’s planned expansion by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

That expansion, and the requirement to hold a card in order to access all welfare services from last August, led to Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty’s memorable declaration that the card is ‘mandatory but not compulsory’.

Today’s stepback is the first such concession on the part of the State with regard to the stated expansion of the card’s uses.

The PSC was first introduced in 2012 as a means for welfare recipients to claim benefits, and as a replacement for the State travel pass.

Its expansion has led to much criticism from the ranks of the data protection and privacy professions due to the disputed legal basis for that expansion.

Read: Woman applying for PSC asked for partner’s name, date of birth, and how long they’d been living together

Read: ‘If everything’s fine, why’s it being investigated?’ – Social Protection peppered with tough questions over PSC

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