Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Tourism, and Sport Marc Mac Sharry TD says the Government must clarify the status of expiring learner permits which may lapse while driving tests are unable to be taken due to the public health measures.

Deputy Mac Sharry said, “Any young person listening to Minister Ross would have felt much concern that their learner permit will expire through no fault of their own. It is paramount the Minister instructs his Department to investigate how driving tests could be conducted safely as public health measures ease.

“It is also crucial that the Minister extend any expiring learner permits until such a time that driving tests can be taken. Under current arrangements all driving licences or learner permits that are expiring between March 1st to June 30th have been extended by four months. This four month extension has to be broadened if testing does not resume.

“There is roughly a 20k backlog in those waiting to take a driving test. I understand this will grow by roughly 9k per month. If permits are not extended and no effort is made to resume testing safely this will create a regional divide. Thousands of young workers in rural Ireland do not have access to public transport and need their private vehicles to get to work.

“If the will was there from the Minister we could have a solution to this very serious problem. We need the Department of Transport to investigate ways to safely bring back driving testing and clarity on extending the four month window on expiring licences and permits. The disinterest from the caretaker Minister only highlights the need for a new government,” concluded Deputy Mac Sharry.