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More public sector driving testers required to clear waiting times – Crowe

10 January, 2007

Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Seán Crowe has called on Transport Minister Martin Cullen to provide more resources to hire more public sector driving testers to clear the backlog of learner drivers who now have to wait an average of 37 weeks for their test. Deputy Crowe described the Minister as 'having a passion for wasting the people's money', spending millions to try and clear the backlog only to end up with an increase in waiting times.

The Dublin South-West TD said: "Minister Cullen seems to have a passion for wasting the people's money. Having thrown away millions on the failed E-voting system in his previous position of Environment Minister, he has now, as Transport Minister, wasted millions on a private testing scheme to end driving test waiting lists only to end up with even longer waiting times.

"The backlog on the waiting list for the driving test is having a particular impact on areas of disadvantage and high unemployment. A lot of these areas are badly serviced by public transport, also under Minister Cullen's responsibility, and some actually have no public transport services. The waiting time for a driving test is making it impossible for many people to afford to insure their cars. All of this is having a direct effect on worker's ability to get to work and consequently on the unemployment figures for these areas.

"Driving testers working in the public sector have bent over backwards to reduce waiting times, carrying out an extra 25,000 tests in the first half of 2006. This effort was rewarded with the granting of 45,000 tests to the private sector with the result of extra waiting times, at extra cost. The obvious solution is for the Minister to take the resources out of the private sector and put them into the public sector to hire more testers and eliminate the waiting lists." ENDS

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