Galway East Deputy Michael Kitt has called for an express postal service for driving licence applications and renewals.
The Fianna Fáil TD raised a special debate on the matter in the Dáil this week, saying the new NDLS system has caused great confusion and long waiting lists in Galway.
“Under these new rules all drivers applying for a learners’ permit, new licence or licence renewal must now attend one of these new NDLS centres. There is just one NDLS centre in Galway located in Ballybrit. People are finding it very difficult to find the office due to poor signage and many drivers are still turning up at the county hall on Prospect Hill, which ceased processing licences in November last,” said Deputy Kitt.
“I know there are many drivers who have travelled long distances to attend the NDLS centre in Ballybrit but have been unable to find it. I also believe that just one office for the Galway region is totally inadequate. It’s led to lengthy waiting times, with many drivers being forced to wait hours to be seen.
“I don’t see why the entire process must be done in person. I strongly believe there should be an option to submit applications through registered post. This could be a similar system to passport applications, with the added security of a photograph for the application being verified by a garda signature. This would be a much more practical and efficient system and would avoid people having to travel long distances and wait in queues to submit their applications.
“The lack of a postal service creates specific problems when it comes to Irish people who are working or studying abroad and need to have their licence renewed. Young Galway emigrants living in Australia, Canada, the US and other countries currently have no option but to fly home and attend the Ballybrit office to apply for their licence,” said Deputy Kitt.
In reply to Deputy Kitt’s questions in the Dáil, Minister of State Ciarán Cannon committed to better signage for the NDLS centre in Ballybrit. He also agreed to Deputy Kitt’s request to raise the issue of a possible postal service with the Road Safety Authority and the Minister for Transport.