Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Marc Mac Sharry, has said there is no good reason why people cannot apply for a learner permit licence. He has called on Minister Ross to come up with workable solutions which would allow people to take their theory test and apply for their licence.

A learner permit is issued to drivers who are learning to drive and for a first application a person needs to take and pass a driver theory test.

Deputy Mac Sharry said, “Many young people were planning on using the summer months to get their first learner permit, something which has been halted by the closure of NDLS and theory test centres.

“I agree that the strict measures which saw the closure of all centres at the beginning of this pandemic were entirely necessary, but this is no longer the case. We have to get back working to some capacity and deal with the massive backlog in applications.

“Theory tests are administered on a computer. One person can attend at a time wearing gloves and a mask if necessary and there could be a proper clean in between each test taker.

“Minister Ross also needs to kick it up a gear and bring the process online. Many renewals can take place online so why can’t this be extended to first-time applicants provided that they can supply all the necessary documentation and proof of identity?

“We’re going to be living alongside COVID-19 for the foreseeable future, we need to be bold and innovative with solutions to make life easier for people. We can’t expect people to wait indefinitely to take their learner permit tests – it’s not fair,” concluded Deputy MacSharry.