Cork North West TD, Aindrias Moynihan has said the ongoing delays in learner drivers obtaining driving test appointments is causing considerable hardship and discomfort.

Deputy Moynihan was commenting as new figures from the Road Safety Authority show that learner drivers in Cork must wait significantly longer periods of time than the national average for a driving test.

According to the RSA website, the average waiting time is 10 weeks. However, in the five test centres in Cork or adjacent to Cork, the average waiting time is considerably in excess.

The average wait in Cork City is nearly 18 weeks, 19 weeks in Skibbereen, 15 weeks in Tralee, 13 weeks in Mallow and nearly 18 weeks in Killarney.

“In rural areas, a car is a necessity for many people in order to go to work, attend college, visit shops, obtain services or just go about your daily business.

“I have been contacted by many young people in particular who struggle to take up job offers or travel to college as they cannot drive without their full driving license.

“While a learner driver will go through the required lessons, and travel with a qualified driver, a prolonged waiting period will bring extra pressure to those on the waiting list.

“It’s not just a rural issued. Despite much better public transport options, these requirements still exist in our towns and villages, yet they too have to wait inordinate amounts of time for a test.

“There must be a greater urgency in terms of reducing these waiting lists. If additional capacity is required, the Department of Transport and the Road Safety Authority must deliver,” concluded Moynihan.