Cork North West TD, Aindrias Moynihan has called for additional resources to be made available to the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to help clear the worrying backlog of people waiting to access driving tests across the county.
Deputy Moynihan made the comments after obtaining new information which shows that many people in the county are forced to wait between 15 and 19 weeks to access a driving test.
“In the city, the average waiting time is 15.5 week, while those in the west of the county who use Skibbereen must way 17.5 weeks, those who travel to Killarney have a delay of 19 weeks, and those who use the centre at Mallow must wait 15 weeks.
“While these are average times, there are certain motorists who are waiting in excess of 21 weeks! How, in 2017, has a situation been allowed to happen where people need to wait nearly six months for a driving test?
“The RSA committed to maintain an average test waiting time of no more than 10 weeks across the country. However new information which I have obtained shows that this target is simply not being met in Cork.
“This simply isn’t good enough and is having a detrimental impact on younger people in particular. They are unable to take up jobs as they are having difficulty in getting their driving licenses in time to start work. Learning to drive is a lifeline, particularly in rural areas.
“It determines whether people can attend school or college, get a job or visit older relatives. Once again it is the rural community that suffer when commitments are not kept!
“Previously, we were told that additional resources and staff would be put in place to reduce waiting times. However this simply hasn’t happened yet and the Minister for Transport Shane Ross has shown an inability to get to grips with staffing problems in his own Department.
“The waiting times for driving tests are going to continue rise unless Minister Ross takes decisive action. Returning Irish emigrants are going to increase demand for driving tests and despite this the Department has still not hired the additional staff required to meet this demand. It is a ridiculous situation that is having a detrimental impact on people’s livelihoods.
“Minister Ross needs to sort out the difficulties in his own Department instead of looking to travel off to North Korea on a foreign affairs junket,” concluded Moynihan.