Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Transport Timmy Dooley has criticised the Transport Minister for bringing in new penalty points for drivers without a valid NCT cert without addressing the major backlogs in the testing system.  The new points come into force today but drivers are waiting up to four months for a test at an NCT centre.

Deputy Dooley commented, “While every effort must be made to ensure the highest standards of road safety, Minister Paschal Donohoe appears to be putting the cart before the horse.  Measures should be taken to ensure that all cars are NCT compliant, however drivers should not be penalised for not having a cert because of unacceptably long delays at NCT centres.  I have been contacted by people who are waiting more than three months for an appointment.

“The introduction of the NCT was a progressive measure aimed at reducing road injuries and deaths, and has been extremely effective in ensuring that all vehicles are roadworthy.  However, extensive delays have been reported at many of the 47 NCT centres across the country, forcing drivers to wait up to four months for a test.  These delays leave them open to a €60 fine and 3 penalty points if they are caught without a cert.

“This morning the Minister confirmed that motorists driving without an NCT cert will be fined and given penalty points, even if they have booked an appointment.  I believe the Minister should re-examine this situation until the delays have eased.  Test centres should be forced to recruit additional staff to help clear the backlog and manage the increased demand”.