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Ferris Calls For Greater Urgency in Tackling Transport Problems

14 November, 2007


Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Environment Martin Ferris TD has called on the Government to display a greater sense of urgency in relation to tackling the massive transport problems that exist at present.

Deputy Ferris was speaking during a Dáil debate on transport.

"While an improved public transport system is clearly required to encourage less people to use cars, the generally accepted solution to traffic problems is to build new and better roads and where possible to bypass major centres of population. That has been successful in many instances but there are also a number of projects which were promised but which are behind schedule.

"When I have met with the National Roads Authority in relation to delays they said that they were waiting for funding from the Government. The former Minister responsible in his turn had referred all queries back to the NRA. It is clear therefore that the funding must be made available in order to allow projects proceed on schedule.

"The most recent issue to cause problems for the Minister was the announcement with regard to the regulations governing drivers on Provisional Licenses. If the original proposal had been followed through that would have meant that 400,000 drivers would have been effectively put off the road within days.

"Because of the outcry in response to the announcement, the Minister was forced to backtrack and allow for a longer period in which to introduce the changes. However, they will still cause massive problems when they do come into effect.

"The point was made in relation to the proposed changes that one of the reasons why there are so many Provisional license holders on the road is the long waiting period for a driving test.

I have raised this issue on a number of occasions and tabled questions which clearly indicate that the driving test centres are under-staffed and under-resourced. Surely that would have been an obvious way to deal with this issue by ensuring that there is a minimal waiting period between applying for the test and taking the test." CRÍOCH

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