News & Media

Minister must resolve driving licence delays

16 February 2021

Statement by Duncan Smith TD
Party Whip and Spokesperson on Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport.

Labour transport spokesperson Duncan Smith TD has called on the Government to urgently address the situation that has arisen for drivers attempting to renew their licence and new drivers applying for their driving or theory tests. The backlog created by Covid-19 requires additional resources and must be urgently addressed as young and rural drivers continue to be disproportionately impacted.

“While I appreciate the pressure on the system caused by Covid-19, this does not give the Minister the licence to abdicate his responsibility to be proactive in tackling this issue. The backlogs in driving licence renewals and tests is now out of control.

“I have been inundated with queries from drivers who are over 70, and who have received no communication from Government regarding their licence renewal. Last week, I asked the Minister to provide an update for those affected, and rather than making a decision for those affected, he has abdicated his responsibility to the EU on the matter. This delay in communication leaves those living in rural areas not served by public transport completely isolated. 

“Similarly, the Minister is ignoring the need to allocate resources to clear the backlog in driving and theory tests. We are hearing of extended wait times of up to a year for tests, and this disproportionately affects our young people who are in dire straits. These delays will inevitably lead to huge financial costs for learner drives, including higher insurances prices and extra pressure on families to accompany learner drivers.

“Our party leader, Alan Kelly TD, has already called on the Government to allocate funds to recruit more driving testers to clear the massive backlog that currently exists, but no progress has been made on this to date. I would urge the Government to hear the pleas of thousands throughout the country who are impacted by continued delays in decision making.”