17 Jan 2022

Backlog of people waiting for driving test in Tipperary must be addressed – Ahearn

Driving test wait in Louth 'unacceptable'

Driving test wait in Tipperary is approximately 25 weeks

1,992 Tipp people await the driving test with a waiting time of 25 weeks.

Senator Garret Ahearn has called for measures to be put in place to clear the Tipperary driving test backlog as quickly as possible.

In Tipperary, across Clonmel, Nenagh, Thurles and Tipperary Town there are currently a total of 1,992 people waiting for an invite for a test. Some 220 people have been scheduled for a test, having booked their test date, and 102 people are in category B - applicants who have advised they are an essential worker.

Speaking in the Seanad this week, Senator Garret Ahearn said, “As we reopen the country, get people back to work and restore some normality to society, we face a number of challenges, one of which relates to driving tests and theory tests. A major backlog has built up and it is really affecting drivers in Tipperary. It needs to be rectified.

Senator Garrett Ahearn

“The waiting time for a driving test is approximately 25 weeks. I have spoken to several people who have contacted my constituency office who were either offered jobs or are seeking to take up jobs. It is affecting many people trying to return to work as we open up society again; yet they cannot drive because they have not done their driving test or their theory test. Some 38% of people on the waiting lists are aged between 21 and 30, which is further impacting their employment opportunities. These are young people who are either in college or starting apprenticeships and want to start working but cannot because they do not have a driving licence.

“It is particularly difficult in rural areas like Tipperary especially at this time of the year when agriculture is the beating heart of the economy. Many people would be involved in harvesting and driving tractors carrying grain all over the rural countryside, but they cannot do that if they do not have their driving licence.

“With the cutting of silage and harvesting season coming upon us, it is a critical time. 1,992 people waiting to be called for a test is high and 102 applicants classed as essential workers, seems quite low.

“Examining the characteristics of the classification of an essential and non-essential worker for the purposes of the driving test and extending the scope may be of benefit to those in rural Ireland. I would think those involved in agriculture, people who have jobs in line or the possibility of taking up a job on foot of having passed a driving test should be classed as essential for the purpose of getting the test.

“There are different challenges in different areas but in rural Ireland, the majority of people need to drive to get to work. We do not have the flexibility of having a fantastic public transport system. We must attack the backlog as quickly as possible; the quicker this can be done, the better,” Senator Garret Ahearn concluded.

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