Thursday, 15 October 2020
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation
Mattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
On my own behalf and that of the Rural Independent Group, I pay fulsome tribute to the Captain of the Guard, Mr. Flaherty, on his retirement. I thank him for his sincere and genuine engagement with Members, staff and everybody else over the years. I have known him for the last 14 years. I wish him a happy and successful retirement.
I have a constituent who, like many others, took his driving test last January and unfortunately failed it. He was due to retake it in February but could not due to the pandemic. Now he cannot get a test and many other people cannot get licences. His father has to drive him to Waterford every day for college and now they are being stopped at checkpoints. His father has gone back to work now as he is a múinteoir scoile. There are many elderly people and ordinary people who are driving but their licences cannot be renewed now. There was a chance given in March for people to get a waiver until the end of August but that has ended. Will the Tánaiste ask the Minister of State, Deputy Hildegarde Naughton, to extend the timeframe again for people because of the huge backlog? I am not blaming the people in the National Driver Licence Service. I also ask the Tánaiste if he will ask the Minister for Transport to look at giving young drivers who have done the required number of lessons and can get a sign-off from their instructor a chance to drive unaccompanied in this time of serious pandemic when there are not supposed to be two or more people in a car. It is a very serious situation for people who cannot go to college or to work. They are advised not to take public transport but there are many others as well who cannot get the licence for work or have grandchildren to take to school. I ask the Tánaiste if he will ask the Minister of State to extend the moratorium.