At the Public Accounts Committee.
The committee’s chair Fianna Fáil TD Seán Fleming read from a letter outlining the costs to date related to the Public Services Card.
The letter sent to the committee was from secretary-general of the Department of Employment and Social Protection, John McKeon, and stated the cost of the card has, so far, amounted to €67.8million.
Reading from the letter, Mr Fleming said:
“€36million of which is in respect of staff costs, related to the administration of the SAFE process and then there’s €31.8million has been paid – broken down as follows: €29.2m to the card production company, set-up costs of €26 [million]….that doesn’t add up. It might have been €2.6 [million] perhaps. And they have desk and card activation at €2.64million.”
The Irish Times reported on the letter this morning, stating that, from the €67.8million figure, €36million was spent on staff costs, and:
“€29.2 million was spent on the card production company, €294,000 was spent on facial matching software and maintenance, and €2.3 million was spent on departmental hardware and ‘systems development’.”
Mr Fleming said representatives from the department are scheduled to come before the Public Accounts Committee in a few weeks and that members will then get to ask them specific questions about the card.
Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy asked that they be asked about the lifespan of the card, what the projected cost is, and if there are any storage costs in relation to the card.
She also added:
“I note here that ‘we don’t have biometrics’ , according to the department but ‘we have facial matching software and maintenance’. It’s not a gigantic amount of money but that, to me, suggests biometrics.”
Watch the Public Accounts Committee meeting live here
Previously: Public Services Card on Broadsheet