Pharmacy fears over photos for licences

A company that owns and operates a number of pharmacies in County Kilkenny has expressed serious concerns over a new government measure regulating the way photos for driving licences are to be taken.

A company that owns and operates a number of pharmacies in County Kilkenny has expressed serious concerns over a new government measure regulating the way photos for driving licences are to be taken.

Mulligan Pharmacies, which has premises in Ferrybank, Piltown and Thomastown, says the new system will devastate printed photography businesses across the country. The Government has introduced a new credit card style driving licence and sought a service provider to fulfill this brief through EU Tender process.

A company called SGS have been awarded the tender, which includes the capture of each individuals photograph for their driving licence on-site at one of SGS’s locations to be set up around Ireland by September 2013. SGS will not accept any photograph other than those captured on their premises by their machines – even though they had the option to scan photographs brought in by applicants.

The Mulligan Pharmacy brand established in 1957, has been offering the provision of photo ID services for over 40 years and all 14 stores, three of which are in Kilkenny will be greatly affected by the new measures. The owner of Mulligan pharmacies, Ronan Mulligan says that the Government and the Road Safety Authority in their decision has ignored the most troubled industry in the country – the retail sector.

“There is a failure by Government to recognise that such a decision has no commercial basis; it will create a monopoly in which the consumer won’t have any price comparison and leaves it wide open for abuse,” he said.

“I have invested €35,000 in upgrading all the photo ID technology to the highest standard in all 14 stores, at a cost of €2,500 per store over the last three years. I have built up a convenient and cost effective service for my customers and it is now unjustified and anti-competitive for me and all current retailers in Ireland providing a similar service to be ignored from the decision making process and eliminated from the market.

“It must be also recognised by the Government and the Road Safety Authority that this will cause a massive inconvenience to customers, as it excludes postal applications and will require some applicants to travel long distances to the on-site locations.”