UN raises concerns over Irish public services card


The Irish government’s attempts to convince citizens to use a Public Services Card (PSC) to access State services has been strongly criticised by the UN.

The international body’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, has said this could present a privacy "nightmare" for poorer citizens.

Alston wrote in a letter to the Government on 14 April that "Rather than seeking to ensure compliance with international human rights standards, the Government appears to have stumbled into the thick of things without addressing many of the key issues that arise"

He went on to described the Government’s claim that PSC is compulsory, but not mandatory as “doublespeak”. While this may apply to those well-off, Alston said, those who rely on Government assistance have no choice but to “give up on their privacy and dignity”.

"Some of the human rights-related problems of the PSC project appear to have been facilitated by the legislative process which has relied on a steady accumulation of complicated amendments to the basic legislation rather than any systematic overhaul of the system".

His full letter is available here.


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