CHANGES to photo requirements for the new credit card style driving licence may result in the loss of 500 jobs, an industry group has warned.
From the end of September, driving licence applicants will no longer be able to use traditional printed photos purchased from Photo ID booths, photography shops and pharmacies.
Instead they will have to attend one of the new National Driving Licencing Service (NDLS) public offices when applying for a licence to have their identity verified and have their photograph and signature digitally captured.
Members of Photo ID Professionals - a group formed to represent the views of people that are gainfully employed in the industry - gathered at the Dail recently to highlight their case. The group have warned that 500 jobs are at risk if the decision is not reversed.
Photo ID Professionals also believe there will be major inconvenience for people having to travel to one of the offices and that driving licence applicants will be unhappy that they are not getting to choose their own photo.
Tadhg Foley, head of Photo ID Professionals and general manager of Photo-Me in Ireland, said: “It has been communicated to us in writing via responses to parliamentary questions from numerous TDs that the main reason for not allowing people to get their ID photos from high street approved stores is to meet the SAFE2 identity validation standard.
“This is a red herring. Photo booth, photo shops and pharmacies’ photo IDs meet all the standards required for SAFE2.”
A spokeswoman for the Road Safety Authority (RSA) said the SAFE2 security validation (which requires people to present in person at a new National Driver Licence Service centre from October 1 if applying for a licence) is about ensuring that the person who attends the Agent Network for a licence validates who they are to the SAFE2 standard.
“Part of that standard is the capture of a digital photograph and signature at the Agent Network,” she told Northside People.
“SAFE2 is a standard registration process and not a photograph standard process.
“The RSA’s objective is to introduce the new Plastic Card and SAFE2 licensing validation system without placing an additional increase in the cost of delivering the service on the State nor place any additional costs on the customer.
“The RSA met representatives of the groups before the Request for Tender was issued for the new service and met them after the tendering process, together with the industry representative body IBEC.
“Specifically the Irish Pharmacy Union and IBEC (Photo ID Industry) made representations to the RSA at a meeting on January 21 2013, requesting that the contract awarded for driver identity validation be amended to use traditional printed photos rather than the digital photo capture process proposed by all tenders who tendered.”
The spokeswoman said the RSA agreed to explore the feasibility of using traditional printed photos and has examined the options available from a legal, public procurement, service delivery and value for money perspective.
“Having considered the matter the RSA has informed IBEC and IPU that it is not feasible to use a traditional printed photo for the one-off identity verification visit which applicants will make to the NDLS,” she added.
“Applicants will have the option of submitting a printed photo with subsequent licence renewal or change of details applications.”
Donaghmede-based Michael Edwards Photography will be among the Northside businesses that will suffer from the changes.
Mr Edwards, a member of Photo ID Professionals, has called on Minister Varadkar to reverse the decision.