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Sinn Féin calls for government to address backlog for learner drivers

12 August, 2004


Donegal Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse Doherty has today called upon the Minister for Transport, Séamus Brennan to "address the unacceptable backlog of people waiting to take their driving tests."

Councillor Doherty made his calls after new figures were released which indicated that learner drivers were waiting on average 10 months to sit their driving tests.

Speaking today, Cllr Doherty said:

"I am calling upon the Minister for Transport, Séamus Brennan to address the unacceptable backlog of people waiting to take their driving tests. What makes this situation worse is that the Minister was aware of this crisis as far back as February 2003, when he said that there was no need for alarm, even though the average wait to take the test was between 25-28 weeks.

"These latest figures supplied by Macra na Feirme, show that the situation has deteriorated further since early in 2003. The average wait for the driving test is now approximately 40 weeks. This situation is totally unacceptable and the Minister must be held accountable for this crisis.

"The most obvious effect of this delay is that drivers holding a provisional licence are paying higher insurance premiums while they wait for their tests. These delays are disproportionately affecting young people who have great difficulty paying the extra insurance premiums.

"Sinn Féin is calling upon Minister Brennan to seriously address this issue. A first step would be to hire qualified instructors from outside of the state to alleviate this problem.

"This crisis also reopens the debate around insurance premiums, especially for young drivers. I am calling for the establishment of a state insurance company that will have a particular emphasis on providing third party motor insurance and put an end to the rip off of drivers based on their age". ENDS

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