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Road Safety Authority

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (182, 186)

Réada Cronin

Question:

182. Deputy Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Transport the steps he will take to resolve the situation in relation to driving instructors who are being denied access to basic facilities such as toilets and sanitation for a second year (details supplied) given that they are providing a vital service dealing with the current backlog of persons waiting for driving tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61245/21]

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Cian O'Callaghan

Question:

186. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Transport if his attention has been drawn to the fact that some RSA national test centres do not provide toilet or sanitation facilities for driving instructors; if he will take steps to address this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61299/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 182 and 186 together.

Operational arrangements at driving test centres are a matter for the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

I understand from the RSA that prior to the COVID 19 pandemic some test centres across the country offered toilet facilities, and in some cases indoor waiting rooms, where instructors or other accompanying persons could choose to wait while students were out undergoing their test.

To be clear, some test centres around the country are very small and do not have, and have never had, facilities available for accompanying persons.

At present, toilet facilities at test centres are only available to the learner driver who is undertaking his or her driving test. There are no waiting area facilities available in any of the centres for either the learner or the instructor. The learner is contacted by phone while he or she is outside the centre and is then invited inside by the driver tester.

The decision to close public toilet and waiting facilities has been taken by the Road Safety Authority in the interests of public safety and as part of its overall Covid 19 Resumption of Services Protocols and in line with Health and Safety risk assessment procedures which had to be adopted as part of the RSA's resumption plans.

Allowing additional persons to enter the test centre would mean potentially doubling the number of attendees at any given time. The only way to do this without risk to public health would be to reduce the number of tests being provided. In a situation where the RSA is already working to reduced backlogs built up during the pandemic, this would not be in the public interest.

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