News & Media

Government Must Postpone Deadlines by Six Months

20 March 2020

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Speaking in relation to the likely duration of the coronavirus emergency over several months, and the need to preserve social distancing and self-isolation, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, has called on the Government to move all public agency deadlines forward by six months to avoid people having to travel and to congregate in public offices to deal with administrative matter such as driving licence renewals, NCTs, visa renewals and various business permits.

Deputy Howlin said:

“In the space of the next three months, tens of thousands of people will be required to complete various administrative processes, such as renewing driving licences, getting an NCT, renewing a work permit or residency permit, and so on. These often require people to travel in person to centres, which can involve using public transport and queuing in offices that are not set up to deal with social distancing protocols.

“In the context of the strong HSE advise for many people to self-isolate and adhere to social distancing, it is an unnecessary and unfair risk for the state to demand that people travel to public offices to conduct routine administrative matters during the coronavirus emergency. It makes no sense. The Government should act now to extend all deadlines by six months, or for the duration of the current emergency. This needs to be comprehensive across all Government Departments and agencies, not the current piecemeal approach.”