Prioritise 31,000 postponed driving tests

It is unfair that people who had their theory driving test cancelled due to lockdown are now being pushed to the back of the queue.

The rescheduling is being done in an unfair way. People cannot understand why applicants who had their tests cancelled are being given new dates for February or later instead of when restrictions are lifted.

Over 31,000 tests were booked for the period of level 5 restrictions that had to be rescheduled.

People are justifiably angry. They have made sacrifices and adhered to public health advice only to find themselves punished because their test fell during lockdown.

All scheduled tests should have been paused and restarted in the same order when lockdown ends. This is the simplest and most equitable way to manage it.

As things currently stand, we will exit lockdown in a weeks’ time. That means there is still time for the Minister to intervene and ensure a more reasonable approach is implemented.

I appreciate that the test centres are under a lot of pressure. But people need to feel like they are being treated equally.

The government needs to show a bit of common sense here and fix this”.

This is happening at a time when over 90,000 learner drivers are waiting for a test across the State.

Sinn Féin have called for additional driving instructors and testers. Likewise, longer opening hours and weekend tests would go some way to address the lengthening backlog.

Surely these theory tests can be done on-line and these drivers can be prioritised.  The knock on effect of not having a driving licence in Rural Ireland is unemployment, higher insurance costs and social exclusion.

Speaking on Radio Kerry.