Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Changes to driving licences application process could threaten thousands of jobs

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Monday) warned that measures need to be put in place to safeguard thousands of jobs which could be threatened by a planned change to the way driving licences are issued.

Under the new plans, people may be able to get their photo taken and their new driving licence produced in one location. But there are fears this could have a detrimental impact on the 4,000 people who are employed providing photo ID services in pharmacies and other outlets across the country.

“The Road Safety Authority (RSA) will be the new national driver licensing authority from next year, and will be responsible for new credit-card style driving licences. The RSA is tendering for the new card production service, which is expected to offer customers the facility to get their digital photo taken and their new licence produced in one spot.

“There are serious concerns about the impact this could have on the Photo ID industry, which supports up to 4,000 jobs. Pharmacies, like all other outlets in the retail sector, have been severely affected by the economic downturn. Providing a photo ID service gives them a regular and important source of income. In 2010, about 667,000 driving licences or permits were issued and the Photo ID business generates up to €9 million in revenue per year.

“Removing this income stream will pose serious difficulties for pharmacists, photo booth providers and other retailers. A compromise should be possible; in France scanners were installed at city halls (where licences are issued) to capture printed photos which customers had taken elsewhere. A similar approach should be considered here.

“It’s possible that all Government issued ID cards will swap over to the new system. This would have a seriously detrimental impact on the photography industry. If we want to counteract this, we need to ensure that people will still be permitted to provide their own photos when accessing the new service. If consumers are given a choice on where they get their picture taken, photo ID providers will be given a chance to compete.”

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