Written Answers. - Granting of Driving Licences.

110.

asked the Minister for the Environment why his Department refuse to grant HGV licences to drivers who have the appropriate Defence Force experience and who left the Defence Forces more than five years ago.

A civilian is required to undergo a driving test if he did not hold a valid driving licence for the vehicle category concerned, within the preceding five years from the commencement day of the licence for which he applies. I arranged by regulations in October 1980 that a member of the Defence Forces could on certain conditions get a driving licence without the normal test, if he held a driving permit issued by the Army within five years of applying for an ordinary driving licence. This concession eliminated a long-standing difficulty for persons leaving the Army and wishing to take up employment as civilian drivers. Furthermore, it brought the former Army personnel into exactly the same position as civilian drivers with regard to the five-year period to which the Deputy refers.