Minister backing proposal to introduce passport card

Card would be "much demanded" by younger citizens, says department

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan supports the project which began prior to his appointment. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan supports the project which began prior to his appointment. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Wed, Aug 13, 2014, 01:00

The Passport Service is working on a proposal to introduce a new passport card for travel within the EU.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan supports the project which began prior to his appointment.

The proposal is subject to discussions with stakeholders: the European Commission, the International Civil Aviation Authority and airlines flying in and out of Ireland, according to a brief prepared for the Minister.

The department envisages the passport card, if introduced, would also be “much demanded” for use by younger citizens for identity verification purposes which it hopes might also result in a reduction in the number of lost passports.

Passports are currently used by many young people as one of the few acceptable forms of ID in clubs and bars.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday the proposal was at a “very early stage”.

“We can confirm that we have held stakeholder engagement but it’s too early at this stage to talk about a timeline,” he said, adding that so far there had been “zero cost” associated with the consultations.

Convenience

Asked why the card was being considered, the spokesman said the Passport Service was one of the main ways the department engaged with the public.

 

“We want to have a modern effective Passport Service for citizens, and we are exploring this as an innovative possibility in terms of convenience and ease of use.”

Last night Mr Flanagan said: “I have long been in favour of the introduction of a passport card for practical and security reasons, and I intend to give my full support to advancing this welcome initiative.”

Elsewhere the briefing documents state a project team has been tasked with implementing recommendations made by an external group to mitigate the risk of fraud at the Passport Service. It follows the arrest of two passport office workers by the Garda’s National Bureau of Criminal Investigation this year as part of an investigation into an alleged “passports for sale” fraud which occurred just months after a similar case emerged in the service.