Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has accused the Government of allowing the waiting list for a driving test to spiral completely out of control and having absolutely no idea of how to fix the problem.

Speaking after Statements and Questions on Transport during the COVID pandemic in the Dáil this afternoon, Teachta Crowe said:

“The waiting list for a driving test in the Tallaght centre was nine and a half thousand in November.

“This represented 10% of the total number waiting for a driving test statewide. It also represented an increase of over four thousand people in just four months.

“It is safe to say that this number is well over ten thousand now with Level 5 restrictions still in place.

“The waiting list in Tallaght would be the population of a good size town.

“These delays can have serious implications of gaining employment or holding onto employment, bringing children to school or a weekly shop.

“With restrictions on public transport still in place due to COVID, this has an even greater impact on how people lead their lives.

“I put it to the Minister that the Government that they should consult with instructors, testers and their unions to find a way forward to accelerate the number of tests that can be carried out safely over the coming months. That nothing should be off the table including overtime and the hiring of additional staff.

“The Minister replied that they were going to hire 40 temporary testers. This does not go nearly far enough. There are 52 testing centres so it is not even one additional tester per centre. You would nearly need 40 testers in Tallaght alone to clear the growing driving test backlog. This supposed solution is little more than a drop in the ocean and its many of my constituents who are impacted directly by these unacceptable delays.

“This Government does not have a grip on the reality of the crisis facing those who need a driving test and they appear from today’s non answers to have absolutely no idea of how to fix it.”