Some TDs are getting so many complaints about driving test delays that they have started writing directly to the chief executive of the Road Safety Authority (RSA).
Former Cabinet Minister Michael Ring said he was “deeply concerned” as his office was being bombarded with queries from people looking to take a test. The Fine Gael TD said multiple people in his area had job offers, which they could not take up because they did not have a full driving licence.
In an email to the CEO of the RSA, Sam Waide, he wrote: “In the last number of weeks, I have received an increasing number of queries pertaining to people seeking their driving test.
"Some of the people that have contacted me have job offers but they cannot take up these positions without a full driving licence so regrettably, they will lose these job offers. I think this is an extremely unfair situation for these people.”
Fianna Fáil’s Cathal Crowe ended up seeking a meeting with the RSA and sending it on a long list of people in his area desperately in need of a test.
“I’m inundated week after week with emails and calls from constituents who are facing lengthy waits on their tests," he said, adding he understood the covid-19 pandemic had caused a backlog and that priority had been given to frontline care workers.
In another email, he wrote: “However, all the above applicants also need to drive, some for work and some for college and their need is very urgent to them for their livelihoods.
"If you could arrange to have them called at this stage, it would be marvellous as they all have been waiting for some time.”
Independent TD Verona Murphy explained how she had been emailing twice a week for a month about two cases in her locality.
In a message to Sam Waide, she wrote: “[I] have not received any response which is most frustrating and disappointing. Can I please have a response so that I can go back to these people.”
In response, Ms Murphy was told that her emails had gone to a “non-monitored mailbox” so had not been seen and was offered “sincere apologies”.
Two other Oireachtas members, Timmy Dooley and Joe Carey, also directly emailed the RSA CEO about particularly needy cases in their area.
Separately, records from the Road Safety Authority detail how problems mounted last autumn with waits of 15 to 16 weeks being reported.
In internal records, this was attributed to an increase in demand, the “natural cessation” of some contract testers that had been working with the agency, seasonal leave, and tester training.