Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Questions (345, 407, 412, 423, 439, 443, 457)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

345. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport when driver lessons for non-essential workers will recommence. [19075/21]

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Thomas Gould

Question:

407. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Transport if the situation in which essential workers who have not completed their EDT lessons are unable to complete these without a bike driver test and are also unable to book a driver test due to the fact they have not completed their EDT lessons has been rectified. [19862/21]

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Thomas Pringle

Question:

412. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Transport the reason the licensed portal for NDI approved driving instructors is closed while it is still allowing the portal for essential workers to request an invitation for a driver test through the RSA website (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19907/21]

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David Cullinane

Question:

423. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Transport if he will advise on a matter raised in correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20267/21]

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Joe Flaherty

Question:

439. Deputy Joe Flaherty asked the Minister for Transport when driving lessons can resume given that there are still many essential workers unable to finish their 12 lessons in order to be able to book driving tests. [20521/21]

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Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

443. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Transport if his attention has been drawn to the fact that essential workers who do not have a driver test booked are unable to continue with driving lessons; and his plans to address the matter. [20575/21]

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Pearse Doherty

Question:

457. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport if it is planned to recommence driving lessons for essential workers who are yet to complete the required driving lessons to allow them to apply for a driving test; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20808/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 345, 407, 412, 423, 439, 443 and 457 together.

The provision of driving instruction has been defined in legislation introduced by my colleague, the Minister for Health, as an essential service that may continue under level 5 restrictions, albeit in extremely limited circumstances.

Both Essential Driver Training (EDT) for cars and Initial Basic Training (IBT) for motorcycles are currently suspended. Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) may continue to provide lessons to both driving and motorcycle learners, but only in such circumstances where the learner in question has already completed their required modules and has been scheduled a test date.

While I fully appreciate the inconvenience this poses to essential workers who have not yet completed their training, I must remind the Deputy that this decision was reached in line with official National Public Health Emergency (NPHET) advice that everyone in Ireland work to limit the spread of the virus by staying at home and keeping social contacts to an absolute minimum.

Officials in my Department and in the Road Safety Authority are working hard to ensure that both EDT and IBT can resume as soon as it is safe to do so.