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Shane Ross says driving and NCT tests not likely to return anytime soon

The Dáil was told that a backlog of approximately 20,000 was building up for driving tests.

DRIVING TESTS AND NATIONAL Car Testing Service (NCT) tests are not likely to return any time soon, Transport Minister Shane Ross has said.

Driving tests have been suspended indefinitely since April to stop the spread of Covid-19.

The validity of driving licences and NCT certificates has been extended under the Covid-19 emergency measures.

“On the issue of driving tests and when it is going to happen… I think that is reasonable to speculate that will probably be fairly late in the day.

“I think the reality is driving tests are very difficult to introduce under social distancing because the space between the tester and the driver is so close.

“Anything that comes into that category would be very hard – and that includes NCT tests.

“We will be guided about both of those tests by the National Public Health Emergency Team, but don’t hold out too much hope about driving tests coming back early,” said the minister.

Independent Kerry TDs Danny and Michael Healy Rae asked when driving and NCT tests would resume as many of his younger constituents cannot get jobs without driving licences.

“When will young people who have learner permits be allowed to sit their driving tests?  When will the tests start again? Many of these people are front-line workers and need their vehicles to carry out their duties.  

“When will NCT and commercial vehicle roadworthiness test, CVRT, centres reopen?  Many people, specifically owners of commercial vehicles, cannot tax their vehicles without having a test,” said Michael Healy Rae.

Fianna Fáil’s Marc MacSharry said there is a backlog of approximately 20,000 was building up for driving tests.

“We need a plan to deal with that, because young people have been asked to deal with enough and sacrifice enough,” he said.

Previously there have been calls from some TDs for the law to be lifted temporarily which prohibits learner drivers from driving alone until the testing system is back up and running. The minister gave no indication that this would be acted upon.

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