Ask A Broadsheet Reader



Des writes:

Part of the Driving Licence form (above) insists I provide my PPS number (to drive a car!) it further says details may be shared with third parties. If the issuing of driving licences is ever handed over to a private company (like NCT) is that not the same stuff that Irish Water went through? Are they building a national ID card by proxy?


Related: Gardai Could be Given PPS Numbers Of Two Million Drivers (Mark O’Regan,

Sponsored Link

29 thoughts on “Ask A Broadsheet Reader

    1. AlisonT

      There is no other unique identifier for people in Ireland so if you want to have an accurate way of linking an identity in a database to a person the PPS numbers are the only reasonable way to go.
      If they use something like DoB and name then this is poor data management due to the non unique nature of this data.
      Using PPS numbers is doing a good job of data management. It is the closest thing to a unique and immutable identifier for the record. It seems like a lot of people would prefer if the Public Service did a bad job.

  1. Stumpy

    Two issues: 1. The issuance of driving licences is already in the hands of two/three separate private companies (and they’re doing a pretty crappy job). 2. An individual is only entitled to an Irish driving licence if resident in the country (open to correction on that though)

    1. Nej

      Little bit pedantic, but you’re only entitled to apply for a driving licence if you’re normally resident in Ireland. You are free to hold one after you’ve qualified for one, even if you’re not resident in Ireland anymore. I *think* you can retain the licence even if you’re not a citizen anymore (ie: non-nationals can have an Irish licence), but I guess this becomes an awkward point on renewal.

      1. Stumpy

        Not pedantic at all, Nej. And yes, the renewal is a bit of a grey area……having just renewed my own, though not resident currently.

    1. Postman Pedantic

      Reply to this post with your PPSN, so.

      “nothing to hide, nothing to fear”, the refrain of the Daily Mail reader nationwide

    2. TheMightyOne

      No one has ever explained why.

      They’re happy enough to hand them over at the doctors or dentists though

  2. Skeptik

    The driver licencing authority is a government body. Your PPS number is the primary way of identifying yourself to government bodies. Get over it.

    People suddenly started getting precious about PPS numbers when the whole Irish water debacle kicked off. Irish water is a private company and people had legitimate concerns about handing over PPS numbers as they were not actually a government body. Now everybody is scared to use PPS numbers for what they were intended.

  3. ush

    What harm would a national ID card do?

    All your dealings with the system become easier, if you have a social security number as an identifier. None of this mother’s maiden name or passport application signed by doctor/solicitor/cop. Picking up prescriptions, ordering stuff online, dealing with banks, handling employers, fobbing off the taxman, receiving social insurance benefits, pretty much everything revolves around your social security number.

    I’m in the process of having my passport renewed while living abroad. My work colleagues think its very strange that a cop or priest can witness your passport application. Doesn’t it show a system that has some antiquated hierarchical trust in authority figures. Wouldn’t it just be better to have an organised bureaucracy instead.

    1. Sorcha

      Totally agree with you. Used to live in Scandinavia. Had to get the Accountant at my job to sign and stamp my passport form when renewing, which he was happy, if bemused to do. Makes absolutely no sense!

      1. ush

        Yeah, I am in Scandiwegia. Had to go to a public notary’s office and have them stamp the form.

        The form allows you to pay for passport renewal by adding your bank card details. So you can write down your 16-digits, enclose your passport and send it in the post. Seems safe enough.

  4. Chris

    PPSN stands for Personal Protected Secret Number, it’s tattooed on my bottom so even I can’t see it. I will flash it once annually for a split second, anyone who wants it (IW included) better be there, ready and waiting.

      1. Caroline

        One time I forgot my PPS number and I had to ring them up and they told me what my PPS number was.

        I was like, what kind of crazy world have we gone and created here?

  5. Kieran NYC

    So Des doesn’t want PPS numbers provided to better deal with people who break the law on the road?

    Ok so.

Comments are closed.

Sponsored Link