Alot of other EU countries have National ID cards issued to their citizens. In Ireland we do not have a National ID card which means currently if we want to travel to any of the 26 other countries in the European Union (bar the UK) or to the members outside the EU but within Schengen such as Norway, Iceland and Switzerland we need a passport.
As Ireland has a common travel with the United Kingdom and a shared land border with Northern Ireland (part of the UK) we do not need to show any documentation when crossing the land border nor are there any checkpoints.
When flying from the Republic of Ireland to the UK Valid ID must be shown at checkin with the Airline and varies by airline; Ryanair insist on Passport for Irish citizens on all flights including domestic, wheras other airlines will accept a Drivers Licence or other valid ID for flights to the UK. Upon arrival from the UK into Ireland valid ID must be shown to the GNIB (Garda National Immigration Bureau who mans Passport Control at our airports), This ID can consist of passport or Drivers licence.
I think in Ireland we need a National ID Card as it would allow us to travel without our passports and we now have the ludicrous situation where if I travel by Ryanair within Ireland I must show my passport at checkin and a Valid ID (Passport or Drivers Licence) to Passport Control at Dublin Airport due to Ryanair lumping domestic passengers into International Arrivals instead of routing them separately as domestic arrivals like Aer Arran does on their Domestics.
If we had a National ID card it would allow to travel to these countries without a passport and on Ryanair also, it would make for more convienent travel and cut costs and bureaucracy. If I was to lose my passport I would have to apply for a new one at considerable cost and also have to cancel and re-apply for the Visas I have in my Irish passport meaning alot of bureacracy and hassle.
As a member of the European Union; Ireland is denying its citizens free travel throughout the Union by not issuing ID cards. Imagine a Citizen of the United States in New York being unable to travel to California without a US Passport?? When in reality that New Yorker only needs his driving licence. Nearly all other EU countries have ID cards except the UK who cancelled their ID card programme due to costs.