RSA request for 80 extra driving testers falls on deaf ears – Darren O’Rourke TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Darren O’Rourke TD today called on Minister Eamon Ryan to get a handle on the driving test chaos, as the RSA confirmed 98,414 are now waiting for a driving test.
The Meath East TD said;
“A consequence of the continuing public health emergency has been the cancellation and suspension of driving tests for thousands of people across the State.
“As a result, a huge backlog of 98,414 people has now built up, and Minister Ryan must put a comprehensive plan in place to address this quickly when restrictions are reduced.
“100,000 people on the waiting list could mean a seven-month wait time for people. It’s completely unacceptable.
“It is essential people can sit their driving test as soon as it is safe to do so, as the lack of a driving license is causing huge issues for people, particularly in rural Ireland where public transport is not an option.
“In addition, this is costing young drivers a considerable amount of money, as car insurance is significantly cheaper once a full driving licence is obtained, but most young drivers can’t do anything about this at the moment.
“Throughout 2020, we called on the Minister for Transport to consult with testers and their unions about extending operating hours to deal with the backlog, in addition to hiring more testers to help deal with the huge waiting list.
“At the Oireachtas Transport Committee in December 2020, the Chairperson of the RSA, Liz O’Donnell, said; ‘in October the RSA made a submission [to the Department] for the recruitment of 80 extra driver testers, and I am hopeful that that will be approved soon’.
“However, at the Oireachtas Transport Committee this morning, the RSA confirmed recruitment for just 40 testers is still ongoing.
“It’s clear the Minister for Transport has not provided approval for the 80 driving testers as requested by the RSA last October, contributing to the growing backlog.
“We believe more testers should be hired immediately, to meet the RSA’s asks, and a plan including longer opening hours and more tests per day be outlined.
“Minister Ryan needs to get a handle on this driving test backlog, as it’s going to cause huge problems this year if a comprehensive plan is not put in place now.”