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Driving test ruling - Evidence of Government's shambolic approach to issue

15 March, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment and Local Government, Arthur Morgan TD, has described news that Minister Martin Cullen's plans to outsource driving tests have been rejected by the Civil Service arbitration board as "yet more evidence of the shambolic nature of this Minister and Government's approach to problem solving."

Deputy Morgan said, "The fact of the matter is that this Government and in particular this Minister have a habit of making policy through press releases. There appears to be no thought or consideration put in to anything -- shoot first and hopefully no-one will ask awkward questions later seems to be the philosophy.

"Only last week in a written reply to my colleague Seán Crowe the Minister said that outsourcing was needed to make a "vital an significant additional contribution to the backlog" in driving tests. Now that this has been ruled out where does it leave the Ministers objective of eliminating the backlog of driving tests by mid-2007? This whole situation is yet more evidence of the shambolic nature of this Minister and his Government's approach to problem solving. It is obvious, and has been obvious for some time that more testers need to be employed by the Department. Now that the outsourcing red herring has been done away with can the Minister press ahead immediately with the recruitment of extra personnel to end the ridiculous situation where 130,000 people are waiting on tests, some for as long as a year. This is a very serious issue across the country -- not just in terms of road safety -- but also in terms of enabling people secure employment and better deals on insurance." ENDS

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