By the end of 2017 the government of the Republic of Ireland had issued 3.034 million Public Services Cards, the Irish Times reported in early January. This number is just over the agreed target. The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection will soon publish a new request for tenders to produce new eID cards, as the contract with the current supplier is about to expire.
According to the Irish Times, the contract with the current supplier stipulated that if the target of three million cards were not reached by the end of 2017, the full cost of the cards not produced would still be payable. The original target date was the end of 2016, the newspaper reports, but was extended by one year when it became clear the target would not be met.
The Irish Times reports that the cards have drawn concerns from privacy campaigners, because the underlying database of personal information is shared across government departments and agencies.
The eID card can be used to replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport, to apply for a passport, or to register for a driver theory test. When combined with a MyGovId, the card offers access to another ten eGovernment services, for example to claim benefits for maternity, children and unemployment.
This year, the government will add ten more eGovernment services. These include renewing a drivers licence or passport, applying for student grants, and accessing the Online Health Portal.
Developing the eID card capabilities and increasing the uptake of MyGovID is one of the goals of Ireland’s 2017-2020 eGovernment strategy, announced last summer.