Glitches at centres processing driving licence applications are not resolved but the system is expected to be running smoothly within a week or two.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar told the Dáil there were “teething problems” with the system, but he was satisfied the Road Safety Authority was addressing them.
“I am not 100% satisfied that the issue is fully sorted,” said Mr Varadkar. “I met the interim CEO of the RSA to discuss this on Monday. This week, there were far fewer problems than arose in previous weeks. I am confident that any remaining issues can be ironed out in the next week or two.”
The RSA took over responsibility for the service from local authorities at the end of October, setting up 34 full-time and two part-time regional centres to process applications, which must now be made in person.
However, delays arose at 12 centres and the RSA was forced to ask motorists in some areas to defer applying unless their existing licence was due to expire within four weeks.
“I accept that there were considerable difficulties, particularly in the first week, for a number of reasons,” said Mr Varadkar. “They were just teething problems. This is always the case with a new service. No matter how much testing one does on a computer system, the model is never the same as the one that applies in reality.
“The move to a centralised driver licensing service is the right one in the longer term, and it will provide a better service to the public in addition to greater security and better value for money.”
Some TDs were unhappy with the locations of the new offices, arguing some motorists were having to travel long distances to get their licence.
Fine Gael Limerick TD Patrick O’Donovan asked if part-time or mobile centres could be considered. “While 95% of the population are within a 50km radius, over 250,000 are not,” he said.
Fine Gael Mayo TD John O’Mahony complained that there was no centre in Ballina despite the headquarters of the RSA being located there.
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