Thursday, 8 October 2020

Ceisteanna (98)

Colm Burke


98. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Transport if provision can be made for drivers whose licences are due to expire in October 2020 in view of the delay in accessing NDLS appointments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29380/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

All driving licences that expired between 1 March and 31 August 2020 have been extended for 7 months. This extension was granted in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the disruption it has caused to licensing services delivered by the Road Safety Authority (RSA). This brings Irish national law in line with EU legislation.

The National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) has now resumed services however they are unable to facilitate any walk-ins due to the social distancing requirements and in the interest of protecting the staff and customers. Therefore, all appointments must be booked in advance. This, of course, has led to an increase in the demand for appointments.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is working with their providers to see how they can create the additional capacity needed as quickly as possible, while adhering to the return to work protocol. Options being introduced include a combination of additional staff, extended and additional operating hours (i.e. Sundays where needed), and the provision of overtime.

The NDLS booking system is undergoing software changes to cater for the expanded booking window associated with the additional NDLS appointment slots, with testing commencing this week.

The introduction of these steps may help ease some of the pressure on the NDLS, free up appointment slots and make it easier to find those slots at local centres. The RSA is continuing work with my Department to expand the current online facility to accommodate all driving licence and learner permit application types.