Cllrs hit out at Learner driver delays

Thursday, 23rd May, 2019 1:17pm

Cllrs hit out at Learner driver delays

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Councillors have hit out at a range of issues affecting young drivers starting out, from delays in getting driving tests to laws restricting how and when they can drive. Minister for Transport Shane Ross even got an honourable mention, as the debate delivered a cutting assessment on how, collectively, all were negative ly impacting rural Ireland.
It was claimed by Fine Gael’s Paddy O’Reilly, who tabled the motion, that there were at present close to 750 people on the driving test waiting list in Cavan, with a further 455 in neighbouring Co Monaghan, with an average delay of 16 weeks from time of application.
He welcomed the appointment of 52 new testers nationally in recent weeks, with 15 more in the pipeline.
Shockingly, however, he told the recent meeting of elected members that close to 15% of appointments for test are not adhered to and this too was compounding the waiting lists.
The cost too, of 12 lessons plus the cost of the test, Cllr O’Reilly suggested, was prohibitive for many.
Next in his sights was the law dictating that learner drivers need to have a fully licensed person accompanying them. It placed, he suggested, a major “burden” and families and young persons, particularly where employment was involved. “I’d ask for that to be amended,” said Cllr O’Reilly.
“It has come to the stage now where rural Ireland is being sat on until all the breath is taken out of it.”
Fellow party member Winston Bennett agreed. “The rules are impossible and unmanageable,” he stated.
“It’s laughable,” said Fianna Fáil’s Philip Brady of the current laws and costs associated with learner drivers; while Sinn Féin’s Daniel Downey suggested the “one size fits all” approach, while it suited cities and major urban centres, only hampered aspirational drivers in rural areas.
“It’s anti-rural, that’s what it is,” suggested Sean Smith (FF), with Shane P O’Reilly (FF) laying into Minister Ross.
“We’re getting it on the doorsteps,” he said, calling for more investment in public transport, with John Paul Feeley (FF) noting that insurance often far exceeds the value of the cars being driven.
The debate also drew input from Noel Connell and Damien Brady (SF), Peter McVitty (FG), Fergal Curtin and Clifford Kelly (FF), and Aontú’s Sarah O’Reilly.

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