Public Services Card; Heuston Station in Dublin
During the Public Accounts Committee meeting, during which the Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon fielded questions about the controversial Public Services Card…
The committee’s chairman Fianna Fáil TD Seán Fleming spoke about the experience of one of his constituents with their PSC.
“As TDs, I’m sure we all run into different constituents with different problems but a particular person I met had the travel pass as part of their social welfare card, they could present it and go on Iarnród Éireann and present it as the case may be because they were a carer.
“But a point came when they were no longer a carer.
“But they kept using the card and they weren’t carers. They weren’t entitled to use the card, but the card was still working.
“So about four or five months later they got a bill from Iarnród Éireann for about €1,048 and it listed all the dates that they’d used the card since, in their opinion, they were no longer deemed to be a carer.
“So they used that information, Iarnród Éireann used the Public Services Card to collect the information in relation to the number of trips the person made on the train.
“And one day they arrived in Heuston Station and they couldn’t get through the gate because Iarnród Éireann had obviously been in touch with Social Protection.”
Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy suggested Iarnród Éireann presumably sought reimbursement from the Department of Social Protection for the trips taken and were subsequently paid for some trips and not for others.
Mr McCarthy said:
“Social protection would have no way of knowing what journeys were being taken.”
Mr Fleming again suggested Iarnród Éireann sought and obtained information from the Department of Social Protection.
Ms Dixon responded:
“We’d be very interested in looking at that in the context of the findings we’re about to issue…We’d be very happy to receive details on that in the context of what we’re looking at.”
Mr Fleming added that he doesn’t believe the case he referred to was an isolated case.