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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 13 Dec 2001

Vol. 546 No. 5

Written Answers. - National Car Test.

Brian Hayes


183 Mr. B. Hayes asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the waiting time for cars to be tested under the NCT regime; if his attention has been drawn to the frustration that many motorists feel when their local NCT centre cannot provide them with dates for their car test; the backlog in the system; the problems that this presents for motorists who want to renew motor taxation; if he has considered imposing penalties on the company which operates this system nationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32176/01]

Ned O'Keeffe


186 Mr. N. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if he will permit car taxation to be renewed in respect of vehicles which are awaiting an NCT test, in view of the serious delays which have arisen in vehicle owners being called for their test; and if his attention has been drawn to the fact that if these people have to wait to have their NCT tests carried out without being able to renew their car tax, they are driving illegally. [32199/01]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 183 and 186 together.

Under the terms of its contract the national car testing service, NCTS, is required to meet certain performance standards which include average and maximum waiting times for test appointments countrywide and on a test-centre-by-test-centre basis. Failure to meet the required standards may result in financial and other penalties for the company. My Department continuously monitors service delivery with reference to all of the specified standards. As a result I am aware of the difficulties referred to in the question. These are in part attributable to demand management problems associated with the industrial action at NCTS earlier this year. To deal with the situation in the short-term, the requirement to present a test certificate when applying for a tax disc for a car that is liable to be tested has been temporarily suspended. It will be reinstated once my Department is satisfied that the company is in a position to schedule and carry out tests in accordance with the specified performance standards.