The operation of the National Driver Licensing Service (NDLS) is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority (RSA), and I do not have a direct role in these matters. I understand from the RSA that the new appointments service will be a permanent feature of NDLS public offices. This will be more convenient for the public.
There is a high level of demand for driver licensing services year-round. When the NDLS first came on stream last October, there were a number of difficulties, and backlogs developed. The NDLS put a measures in place to address these problems, as a result of which there has been a great improvement in turnaround of applications, and the backlog has essentially been eliminated.
In particular, the NDLS has taken a number of measures to address demand at its public offices since opening. These include: providing extra staff at centres experiencing high demand; additional training (which will increase efficiency and therefore throughput of customers); and plans to open two new centres, one in Dublin and one in Cork, this summer.
In the longer term, people who have already been through the SAFE 2 level ID verification system via the NDLS will not have to present themselves in person when applying. In due course, it will also be possible for people who have ID verification to SAFE 2 standard from the Department of Social Protection to apply without appearing in person at an NDLS Centre either. These measures will significantly reduce demand at NDLS offices in the longer term.