Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (85)

Thomas Pringle


85. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Transport if he has organised plans to address the lack of access to toilets, hand washing facilities and shelter for driving instructors at national test centres who are still working under level 5 restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2477/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Operational arrangements at test centres, including the availability of waiting and washing facilities, are a matter for the Road Safety Authority.

I understand that the Authority decided to temporarily close public toilet and waiting facilities in the interests of public safety - and particularly the health and safety of testers and other test centre workers - as part of its overall Covid-19 resumption of service protocols and in line with health and safety risk-assessment procedures which had to be adopted as part of the RSA's resumption plans.

It took account of guidance issued by the Health and Safety Authority and the return-to-work-safely protocol agreed by the Labour and Employer Economic Forum, LEEF.

In response to a formal request from Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton to review these arrangements, the Authority wrote to the Department in November outlining the absolute necessity of retaining these safety measures.

While the Authority recognises that this may be inconvenient for partners, family members and indeed driving instructors who accompany learner drivers to their tests, the fact remains that the more people who enter a building, the greater the risk of Covid spreading.

The safety of staff and the public in general must remain the Road Safety Authority's number one priority at this time.