Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Environment, Community and Local Government Niall Collins TD has described as “very alarming” the number of PPS numbers in issue within the State and the potential for incidents of identity theft or fraud in the social welfare system and the wider economy as a result.  It has been revealed that there are 7.2 million PPS numbers in issue while the population stands at just 4.58m.

Deputy Collins said: “During a discussion on the Electoral Amendment Bill at the Oireachtas Environment Committee this morning Minister Phil Hogan revealed that there were 7.2 million PPS numbers in issue in the State.  This is immediately worrying as the Census showed the population stood at just under 4.6 million, a difference of more than 2.6 million.

“”I would have very serious concerns about the possibility of fraud arising from this.  Abuse or criminal activity by people using duplicate PPS numbers or numbers belonging to people who may have died could cost the State hugely in terms of social welfare fraud for example.  There’s also the concern around identity theft.

“I know the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton is moving ahead with the introduction of a new identity card but in conjunction with that I believe the Government should carry out an audit of the PPS number system.  The Government must ensure that PPS numbers belonging to those no longer resident in the State or who have deceased are no longer active or in circulation.  I will be discussing this issue with my party colleague Barry Cowen, who is Spokesperson on Social Protection and will raise it with Ministers Burton and Hogan,” concluded Deputy Collins.