Independent TD Mattie McGrath
Rural Drivers continue to be left behind- McGrath
Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described as outrageous the failures of the Minister for Transport and the RSA to resume essential services in a reasonable time frame. Deputy McGrath was speaking after Minister Ross confirmed to him that there is no plan in place as of yet to resume the services under the remit of the RSA including Driving Tests, Theory Tests or National Driving Licence Services.
The Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business was set out on the 18TH May and despite the majority of essential services resuming, the essential services under the RSA’s remit remain closed with no roadmap in place as to when exactly they will re-open.
“It is outrageous and displays a huge lack of commitment to the public they serve that essential services such as driving tests, driving licences and theory tests cannot be obtained and that there is no plan in place to resume these services. It demonstrates a huge lack of imagination or common sense on the part of those responsible.
These are essential services. Drivers need their licences and new drivers need to be tested particularly as a result of the punitive legislation introduced last year by Minister Ross.” Said Deputy McGrath
“The fact that there is still no plan in place for NDLS services in particular to resume is completely nonsensical because these services are operated behind a counter and screen and so there is very limited risk if any to staff or the public. There is no reason why appointment only rather than walk in services could not be operated.
Similarly for the Theory Testing, they operate by appointment and most test centres have a number of testing computers and so there should be no reason why this service can’t continue by reducing the numbers of people being tested at any one time.” Continued Deputy McGrath
Shane Ross, failed in his bid to be re-elected in Februarys election but remains as Minister for Transport responsible for implementing these decisions. In Response to a Parliamentary Question from Deputy McGrath, he confirmed that no roadmap is in place yet for the resumption of services but that Driving tests would be the last to resume.
“Here we have an unelected Minister continuing to be responsible for these important matters and once again he is showing no regard for the people of Rural Ireland. It makes no sense that someone can get into a taxi in Dublin but drivers in rural Ireland can’t possibly sit in the same car as a driving tester.
Minister Ross confirmed to me that it will be phase 5 or after before driving tests resume. Phase 5 does not begin until August 10th at the earliest so young apprentices, young nurses and doctors trying to get to work are being left behind until August 10th at the earliest. This is not acceptable. They need access to their cars and to gain their licences.
There are ways and means around this and precautions can be taken. Drivers can wear masks if required and have temperature checks in the same manner as is required for up close appointments. All we need is an elected Minister with a bit of imagination and a desire to find solutions and help those he is supposed to be responsible for. Instead with have an unelected Minister with no desire to help those he placed the largest obstacles in front of. ” Concluded McGrath