AS JUSTIN MASON notes, if the Irish government "had a simple and usable online application process, perhaps they wouldn’t be plagued by other sites attempting to offer that service for what is really a quite reasonable EUR22 fee". Like many others, I heard pile-on press coverage of www.ehic-card.eu deriding the charging of a fee for a free European Health Insurance card. At the time, my only reaction was value-for-money. If you need your health insurance card, is it worth the money spent online to get it before the three week period elapses for the government to get you one? I pay agencies to expedite paperwork all the time. Paying a service fee for a health insurance card normally means you get it faster than the normal rate. Such is the efficiency of the private sector.
I'm still waiting for the day for government information to mean more than shiny information brochures online. Imagine this--a government site with comments, newsfeed and practical e-commerce facilities. All website award programmes should insist upon those capabilities before allowing a government website to progress beyond the submission stage during the annual clap-happy events.