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Minister Ross places blame on RSA for mandatory Public Services Card fiasco - Imelda Munster TD

12 June, 2018 - by Imelda Munster TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Transport Imelda Munster TD has today questioned Minister for Transport Shane Ross on a recent policy U-turn, which saw his department unexpectedly pull a scheme to make the presentation of Public Services Cards mandatory in applying for driver tests.

The U-turn came nine months after the policy was introduced in relation to driver theory tests.

The Department apparently became aware in March 2018 that the scheme was illegal, one month shy of the commencement date for the regulation in relation to drivers’ licences.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) claims that the debacle has cost them €2million.

Today in the Dáil Minister Ross denied this, laying the blame for the debacle squarely on the RSA, saying that they went ahead with an “erroneous” policy.

Deputy Munster said:

“I understand that in March 2017 the Department of Transport instructed the RSA that Public Services Cards were to be made mandatory in the process of applying for drivers licences and driver theory tests.

“Since June 2017 the cards have been mandatory for theory tests. The Department is now reversing this policy.

"The same policy was to be implemented from April 2018 in relation to drivers licences.

“One month before that date the Department discovered that there was no legal basis underpinning the policy and the plan was pulled.”

“The RSA claim that €2million was spent on this project, which was now been wasted.

“Either the RSA or the Minister is being economical with the truth here.

“When public money is wasted someone has to be held to account.

“Minister Ross claims that the RSA misunderstood the policy. He accused me of using ‘dramatic language’. He may not think that this is a serious matter, but I do.

“If it is the case that the RSA made this error he needs to explain how that happened.

"What was his department’s role in the oversight of this policy, and how did they allow an 'erroneous policy' to be developed, prioritised and partially implemented without his department intervening?”

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