Statement

We need to introduce a compulsory national ID card system – Hayes

Fine Gael MEP for Dublin says that a compulsory national ID card system would make public services more efficient for everyone in Ireland

Brian Hayes MEP today called for the introduction of a compulsory national ID card system for Ireland, noting the significant benefits that national identity cards have given to millions of EU citizens.

“All 28 EU member states except for Denmark, the UK and Ireland issue their citizens with national identity cards with the majority of Member States making it compulsory to hold one. In many Member States, the national ID card incorporates a person’s social security card, birth certificate, bank card and sometimes even driver’s license all into one.

“A national ID card system would help to clarify exactly how many people are living in the country. Census results from 2011 showed that there was more than 100,000 people in Ireland than previously thought. Our methods of documenting citizens has become outdated and needs to be modernised. A comprehensive national ID card system is achievable and because of Ireland’s relatively small population compared to other EU countries, it would be cost-effective.

“The introduction of Public Service Cards (PSCs) in 2012 is a welcome development with over 500,000 cards issued already. But this is a small first step. A compulsory national ID card system would make public services more efficient and user-friendly for everyone. In most other EU countries, your national ID card can be used for health care, social services and paying taxes. In Estonia, for instance, taxes take less than an hour to file and setting up a company takes only a few minutes using an Estonian ID card.

“We need to be ambitious about this – I believe the government should put in place a strategy to develop a compulsory national ID card system. Ireland is a long way behind other EU countries on how we document and identify citizens.

“If we have a well-developed national ID card system in place, it will help prevent social welfare fraud, tax evasion and in helping police authorities to easily identify citizens and manage anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.”

 

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