Irish passport card holders to be fingerprinted under new EU rules

9 January 2019 — Statewatch

New EU rules on national identity cards and travel documents will “compel Ireland to introduce fingerprinting” of all holders of the Irish passport card, according to a document circulated by the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU (pdf).

Passport cards as identity cards

The passport card is available to all Irish citizens holding Irish passport books and can be used to travel “within the EU/EEA and Switzerland and is recognised as a valid travel document by relevant national authorities,” according to the country’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Under a Regulation proposed by the European Commission in April 2018 on the security of identity cards and travel documents, all national identity cards in the EU will have to contain two fingerprints and a biometric photograph (alongside other data) and be issued in the ID-1 format, which is governed by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) rules.

Ireland (along with the UK and Demark) has an opt-out from EU rules introduced in 2004 that require biometric fingerprints in passports, and the country “requested to specifically recognise in the Regulation passport cards as a passport and thus exclude them from the scope,” says the Council document.

However, the Austrian Presidency and the vast majority of other Member States think otherwise:

“The Presidency is fully aware of the concerns of Ireland. However
Irish passport cards are issued in the ID card format (ID-1) and grant their bearers the right to exit and to enter another Member State similar to identity cards issued by other Member States. This means that despite their denomination, passport cards should fall within the scope of the Regulation.”

Thus, all holders of Irish passport cards will have to be fingerprinted, if the Council and Commission’s preferred rules are maintained following negotiations with the European Parliament.

Read the full story: Irish passport card holders to be fingerprinted under new EU rules

If you are a journalist and would like to know more about this story, contact chris [at] statewatch.org or call 0203 691 5227.

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