Department lodges formal appeal against Public Services Card enforcement notice

The Department of Social Protection has formally appealed against the enforcement measures launched by the Data Protection Commission over the Public Services Card (PSC) scheme.

The data protection watchdog launched proceedings against the department after concluding that the expansion of the scheme had no legal basis.

It said the department could continue to require the PSC for some services it provides directly, but other public bodies could not.

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty has insisted that her department has “strong legal advice that the existing social welfare legislation provides a robust legal basis for my department to issue PSCs for use by a number of bodies across the public sector”.

The appeal against the DPC’s enforcement proceedings will be heard in the Circuit Court in early March, The Irish Times reports.

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), which has campaigned against the expansion of the PSC scheme for years, criticised the department’s move.

Elizabeth Farries, information rights programme manager at ICCL, said: “The Department of Social Protection just dispensed with their final opportunity to do the right thing and halt the illegal roll-out of the Public Services Card.

“The choice means the PSC case will take years (and lots of money) while they keep violating our rights.”

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