Ireland: new welfare ID card to prevent fraud

As a part of austerity plan Ireland Public Services are looking to close loopholes inside its welfare system. Brand new photo ID card is a part of a pilot program to run in Tullamore, Sligo and Dublin. New ID cards that supposed to roll out next week will contain person’s biometric photograph, name, signature, public services subscriber number (PPS) and expiration date; all data will be also encrypted in contact chip; additionaly the microchip will hold extra data not printed on the card such as date of brith, gender, maiden and formerly used names and mother maiden name. The back of the card will also have magnetic strip to make it compatible with more readers. The strip will be eventually eliminated when more chip scanners replace magnetic strip readers.
All these features are expected to prevent card forgery and using cards by other people. Around 4000 cards are expected to be issued by the end of the year. Public Services department is aiming at 625 milion Euros a year saving with the new program.
Ireland is among European Union countries under heavy financial pressure due to large public debt and struggling economy. EU financial help is dependent on applying austerity measures and therefore government is under stress to find cuts, Statistically amounts spent on welfare and lost to welfare fraud is rising during weaker economy periods.

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